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23 September 2019
At least 10,679 workers will be required by 2024 to support WA’s rebounding mining sector, adding to fears of a looming skills shortage, according to the Australian Mines and Metals Association.
The resources and energy employer group advised that it’s conservative estimate did not include the construction jobs needed to build the mines ad was based on 30 new mining projects entering production in the coming four years.
More than half of the 20,767 new mining workers that would be needed nationally over the same period were represented by WA jobs.
The projected growth would boost the number of people directly employed in the WA mining sector from 105,300 in May this year to 116,000 in 2024, demonstrating the highest number since the 119,000 workers employed at the peak of the last mining boom in mid-2012.
Mining majors presently have seven big iron ore projects in play in the Pilbara which account for more than half of the workers required, but lithium and gold also feature notably, with eight and five projects respectively.
There are many workers which will be required including mine plant operators, mining engineers, geologists and heavy diesel fitters. Other trades which will also be required include electricians and people with management, administrative and technical skills.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said the industry was facing new workforce demands at levels not seen since the last mining boom (2007 – 2013) but he anticipated it would be a far sounder increase.
The association also said there were another 49 “possible” projects in WA in the viability phase, which had not been included in its projections.
“We must avoid a scenario where nationally significant mining projects are delayed by skills shortages, or competing for engineers, trades and skilled operators with the $100 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Australia’s development,” Mr Knott said.
In March, it was projected by the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy that about 15,000 further workers would be required in WA resources sector between 2020 and 2025, compared with the 40,000 needed in the earlier mining boom between 2005 and 2012.
However, CCIWA chief executive Paul Everingham said there were still fears about skills deficiencies, partly because parents had discouraged their children from pursuing mining related courses, by telling them there were no jobs in the sector.