What does the future look like for Australia's mining sector?

Allen Taylor our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 30 June 2021

The mining sector has long been a key driver of the Australian economy. It is the country’s largest and most profitable sector, even despite the uncertainty of COVID-19. Statistics have shown that mining was responsible for around 10.4% of national GDP between 2019 and 2020, and there were even increases in mining output during the same period. Better yet, Australian mining employment is on the rise, with a steady flow of mining jobs becoming available, particularly engineering roles. The supply of iron ore throughout Australia is in a strong position and according to The Guardian, Western Australia has been a dominant source of the country’s exports. So, with the Australian mining sector in such a good position, what does the future hold for the industry?

 

A growing sector

 

Over the past year, every industry has faced major challenges due to uncertain economic conditions, which has created a volatile job market globally. However, despite this, the mining sector in Western Australia is currently booming, signalling a positive future for the industry. Research has shown that the sector is officially hiring more people than at the peak of the mining boom in 2013 – and investment growth in 2020 was up $3 billion to $20 billion, compared to 2019. Furthermore, Australia has become the largest iron ore exporter in the world over the past two years, and it’s expected that the value of exports will continue to increase. There’s no doubt that Australia’s mining is in a strong position financially and gold and iron ore producers will have to contribute a massive role in driving Australia’s economy. Also, with electric vehicles on the rise, Australian mining companies have been encouraged to be more energy-efficient, so we could see the sector eventually investing further in battery power.

 

The role of technology

 

There’s no denying that technology has had an enormous impact on the workplace, including the mining sector, as there’s now more autonomous systems and streamlined workflows. For example, autonomous vehicles are on the rise in Australia. Iron ore company Fortescue Metals developed autonomous light vehicles to be used in mining operations. While these vehicles are still in their infancy, it’s clear that the use of technology in Australia’s mining has been growing rapidly. And with the rise of 3D modelling, drones and the internet of things, the industry has the potential to become more digitalized than ever before. This means there could be a much more diverse pool of job opportunities, paving the way for an increasingly dynamic mining sector.

 

The future workforce

 

In the World Economic Forum’s ‘future of jobs’ report, it was found that 85 million jobs could be displaced as a result of technology by 2025, but 97 million jobs may emerge. The same report showed that the risk of unemployment in mining was low at 4%, showing there will still likely be a demand for mining jobs in the future. Western Australia is a key area for the workforce and there’s a range of engineering jobs within the mining sector, many of which are based out of Perth and in the Pilbara region, including rail workers and excavator operators. In Australia, 20,000 new jobs were created during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there’s a shortage of new skills compared to other industries. Companies in the mining sector must upskill where possible and create training programs for employees to help them learn, and grow. Fortunately, the Australian government is investing $50 million into training hubs across the country to build new skills. With the right training and investment, the Australian mining workforce will be much more adaptable in the future, and ready to take advantage of new technologies and new ways of working.

 

Are you looking for new roles in mining?

 

There’s no question Australia’s mining sector has a bright future and there’s likely to plenty of job opportunities. At TRS Staffing, we have a highly skilled team of recruitment consultants with a strong knowledge of the mining sector. We have an outstanding track record of building quality relationships with our clients and candidates. Due to our experience, we’re able to source the best professionals for mining engineer jobs in Western Australia, and we have a strong understanding of the market. Our team is dedicated to delivering a quality recruitment service tailored to specific needs. If you would like to find out more about our mining jobs, contact us today for more information.

 

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