Western Australia leads the sector for new mining projects
The Australian Resources & Energy Group has released a report stating the mining industry would need to employ 21,000 new staff by 2024.
The AREG arrived at this figure by analysing the operational requirements of 57 projects in Australia - a combined value of $41bn - and found thousands of potential job roles were required, from plant operators to mechanical engineers and geologists. Steve Knott AM, CEO, remarked, “While demand across the next four years will be far steadier than the unprecedented growth we saw in 2005-2012, it is clear that securing the pipeline of skills to support mining project growth to 2024 will be a significant challenge”.
The report, which was published in September 2019, highlights Western Australia as the region likely to require the lion’s share of new workers, an estimated 10,679 employees spread across 30 projects focusing on lithium, coal, gold and particularly iron ore. This is partially corroborated by a web post from recruiter Cormac Consulting in 2019, which listed nine upcoming projects in WA, three in Queensland, one in South Australia and one in New South Wales.
Top three mining projects in Western Australia
Gruyere JV: A 50:50 venture by Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources, Downer Group was awarded the $400mn contract in 2017 to provide mining services to the project. Gruyere JV had its opening ceremony on 3 December last year and is expected to remain operational until 2031. Located 200km east of Laverton, WA, it has provided a source of employment for 250 daily operational workers, with 700 additional workers hired during its construction.The project is expected to produce 300,000oz of gold annually.
Eliwana: Fortescue Metals Group ‘green lighted’ the Eliwana mine and rail development in Spring 2018. The project, which will cost an estimated US$1.275bn, is set to involve laying 143km of railway infrastructure and the construction of a new iron ore processing facility, with an annual production capacity of 30mn tonnes. Fortescue has estimated the mine to have a lifespan of 18 years, creating 1,900 construction jobs and 500 daily operational jobs once production begins in December 2020.
Kwinana lithium plant: Tianqi Lithium’s lithium hydroxide plant near Perth completed the first stage of its $400mn facility last year, but further construction is currently still underway. At full capacity, the project is estimated to process “48,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide per annum,” making it one of the world’s biggest producers. Hiring local, skilled workers to construct its state-of-the-art plant, the Kwinana plant has provided employment to over 900 construction workers and more than 200 operational workers.
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