[REPORT] Australian Mining Industry Could Lose 75,000 Jobs
The mining industry in Australia is in danger of losing thousands of resource-related jobs as the industry enters a new phase of mining.
According to a new report by the ANZ bank, Australia’s mining industry could shed up to 75,000 jobs over the next three years as the mining boom shifts gear.
The potential job losses will add to the country’s 5.8 percent unemployment rate and will require the creation of 150,000 new jobs a year to maintain this rate.
"Weaker than expected commodity prices would tilt the risks to more job losses as mining firms seek to cut costs," said Justin Fabo, senior economist for ANZ.
"So we think the unemployment rate will be in spitting distance of 6% over the next 12 months, and for improvement after that to be gradual."
The sector is seeing a switch in position as the job-intensive construction phase moves towards the job-light operation phase.
“Iron ore projects in Western Australia require, on average, one worker during the production phase for every two or three workers directly employed during the investment phase (but the ratio can vary markedly project to project),” Fabo said in his report.
The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency said the total number of jobs in the industry has increased by 80 percent in the last five years to reach 263,000.
The ANZ expects iron ore exports – Australia’s biggest – to grow from $55 billion in 2012 to $75 billion by 2020. LNG exports should also increase, growing from $15 billion in 2013 to $67 billion by 2020.
The mining industry in Australia is expected to remain profitable as the volume of mineral exports surges.
“This phase of the mining boom, however, will not be as lucrative as Phase I,” ANZ said.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.