Whats going on in mining
This page is to give the average person that hasn’t been exposed to mining before an understanding of what is going on within the industry related to each commodity (the metal) being mined.
All commodities on this list use hardrock methods to mine, except the last that is coal. This means that our courses include basic mining skills that can be used over a large range of commodities. As you will see, you just can’t lump all mining in together, then say the industry is in either a boom or a bust it depends on each mineral. This time around its all about Gold and Batteries.
I am going to start with what is booming and working through until I tackle Coal.
Currently swinging out of bust to boom for the first time in 30 years, there is a genuine shortage of the metal. This has meant higher prices with the Australian gold price now over $2000 an ounce. This demand means that existing mines are ramping up production and new mines are being opened. For people that have been out of the industry for a while or new starters, gold mines are one of the best places to look for work at the moment.
By using our basic mining skills courses to educate yourself you can present a genuine alternative to these employers for these lower paid (still $80K-$120Kpa) roles.
Currently swinging out of bust to boom, there is a genuine shortage of the metal with reports of North American mints having trouble striking their silver coins because of lack of silver. With a high usage in industry this metal which is often collected as a by-product of mining for other metals such as copper is forcing the reopening of old projects and a scramble to find new deposits. These mines are a good place for both experienced and new starters to look for employment.
Currently going into an upswing due to the fact that these batteries use a fair bit of copper to make it all work. Australia has a couple of very large copper mines that are operated underground, one of these was closed but recently reopened. Over all they are chasing people for their mines with some of the larger underground mines seem to have problems with turnover in their lower paid roles. This can be used to an advantage by new starters to the industry.
By using our basic mining skills courses to educate yourself you can present a genuine alternative to these employers for these lower paid (still $80,000-$120,000pa) roles.
Australia currently only has a 3 mine policy in regard to uranium, this makes it difficult to rate if the industry is in boom or bust. The largest of these mines in South Australia is currently on a big recruitment drive however this could have more to do with the other metals that are produced with the uranium, those being gold and silver.
Currently Zinc is holding steady with enough supply around to meet demand at a higher price for producers. These mines are located in the southern eastern states or the very north of Western Australia and seem to have a stable workforce for the moment. During a time like this as Gold and Silver producers look to ramp up production employers will often poach experienced employees from these mines by offering more money or a better roster. It hasn’t happening yet but look out for it if you are a New Starter, you can turn this to your advantage when the time comes.
Currently lead is coming out of a bust, with many mines having been closed over the last 3 years as the metal price has continued to slide, are now being reopened aound the country. This means that as the mines reopen they will need full crews which means they will be looking for new starters. Mines in this positions will be looking to fill all these new vacancies with experienced people, employers often use labour hire companies to find people for these roles.
Rare earths are still booming with lots of exploration currently underway to find new deposits across Australia. These earth minerals are being used in industry for batteries to power everything from cars to phones. These operations are often open cut with the deposits close to the surface. When trying to get a job driving a truck in an open pit mine it is more important to have a HR license rather than an expensive truck ticket.
Nickel is coming back because of its use in all these Batteries but is still way off its highs 10 years ago of $US45,000 a ton. With many mines both here in Australia and around the world closed and put into care and maintenance over the last 5 years being reopened. These are large mines requiring lots of experienced people. BHP is using a contractor that is known for its practices of buying the labor to get its workforce, to reopen its large underground mines in WA
Iron ore is off its highs of the last decade, with many high cost mines still closed. This is not an industry for new starters that want a long term career. The employers and management are big on automation and use labour higher companies to replace staff. The trainee schools that are run twice a year by the big Iron Ore companies are more about reducing costs than anything else, taking from 12-24 months to complete most people are lucky to make $70k a year, half the normal wage.
Even with the lower iron ore price these companies are producing a ton of iron ore for a production cost of $US22-$38 a ton. As you can see with the current price of around $US100 a ton these companies are still making a huge profit.
Coal. Where do I start? This why I don’t encourage people to go coal mining in the eastern states. Did you know that there is a reason there is only one coal mine in Western Australia and that’s right next to the local power station that feeds Perth? The WA mining Act makes it too expensive to mine coal there (unless you are putting it into a power station) and it’s not for a lack of the stuff over there either. There is coal everywhere, all over WA but only one mine. The question that I was always left with was, what aren’t those companies in the eastern states doing that you would have to do in WA? Sadly, we now know that with basic safety being let down, all the cases of black lung in Queensland are said to be just the tip of the ice berg. This is why I always recommend to stay away from coal and get a hardrock job, much safer.
I hope this information helps you make some sense of how complicated that mining is. If you have any more questions, please send us an enquiry request via the link at the right of page.