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Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry which comprises five main industry sectors:

  • Drilling
  • Coal Mining
  • Extractive Industries (Quarrying)
  • Metalliferous Mining
  • Civil Infrastructure.

Historically, mining of resources has been important to Australia’s wealth and prosperity, a trend that continues to the present day.  Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure, taken as a whole, make up Australia’s largest industry, employing over 1 million people as of 2015.  The locations of Coal Mining, Drilling and Metalliferous Mining activities are dependent on where deposits of these resources are discovered.  Civil infrastructure and Extractive Industries activity tends to be concentrated around areas of major development and large infrastructure projects.

Nationally recognised training for Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure is delivered under the RII - Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package

For more information and data specific to Drilling, Coal Mining, Extractive Industries, Metalliferous Mining, and Civil Infrastructure please visit the respective pages. 

 For information and data on training qualifications that apply to multiple sectors within the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry please visit the Resources and Infrastructure Cross Sector page.

Information sourced from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

Employment levels in the Mining, and Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction industry sectors rose significantly in the period between 2007 and 2014, reflecting labour demand created by the resources boom.  Employment levels have since declined from their peaks, however the Metal Ore Mining, Exploration and Other Mining Support Services, and Coal Mining sectors have all seen rises between 2015 and 2017.  Employment levels are projected to increase over the five years in most sectors with the exceptions being Coal Mining, and Mining (not further defined).

There were approximately 92,000 program enrolments in Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package during 2016 and over 18,000 completions.  Both program enrolments and completions have declined between 2014 and 2016.  There has been a considerable increase in subject-only enrolments, growing from approximately 258,000 in 2014 to over 355,000 in 2016.  There are a high proportion of common skills shared between the different sectors in the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry.  For example, Drilling is a multidisciplinary sector and shares many core skills with the other sectors within the industry.  The Coal Mining, Extractive Industries, and Metalliferous Mining sectors also share sets of common skills.

 

Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work identifies a number of key issues skills needs within the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry:

  • Due to the unique work done within Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure, skills developed outside of the industry may not be transferable to the sector due the size of equipment, complex regulations and safety hazards.  For example maintenance workers may need significant retraining when entering the industry for the first time.
  • Due to increasing productivity requirements within the industry, the workforce requires skills in the collection and analysis of data in order to identify the most efficient processes.
  • Recent advances in technology within the sector require workers to be trained in operating the latest software.

The report by Atkinson and Hargreaves (2014) An Exploration of Labour Mobility in Mining and Construction: Who Moves and Why highlights the importance of workforce mobility in filling demand for skills and labour particularly given the cyclical nature of the Resources and Infrastructure industry.  The report suggests a number of possible solutions to address skill and labour demands within the industry:

  • a broader search radius for potential employees
  • a more flexible approach to relevant experience
  • engagement with apprenticeship programs
  • collaborative programs/activities with education providers to produce work-ready graduates.

The SkillsDMC Resources and Infrastructure Industry Workforce Analysis and Forecast highlights the transition of the mining boom from investment to production driven growth.  Amid the current climate of lower commodity prices, an increased focus on productivity and efficiency will see rising demand for a higher skilled operational workforce.  Increasing use of technology and automation within the Resources industry is likely to result in further changes to workforce practices and requirements.  According to the forecast the industry is also at risk of losing some of its skills base to retirement or other industries over the next few years as market conditions have deteriorated.  Therefore it is critical the industry continues to invest in skilling the workforce through the entire course of the cycle to ensure capacity is there when conditions improve and activity rises.  The period from 2018 until 2022 is identified as a period of risk.

The SkillsDMC 2015 Environmental Scan outlines the following skills challenges for the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry:

  • The transition from the investment to the production phase in the industry requires stakeholders to identify emerging skills gaps and re-skill workers from areas where supply exceeds demand.
  • Automation and the adoption of technology will produce new and varied roles and drive a need for workers to update their training and skills to meet changing industry demands.
  • The industry workforce is ageing with significant numbers levels of retirement predicted over the next decade.  The industry needs to prepare for the looming loss of skills and experience to avoid shortages in the future.
  • The often remote and challenging nature of work within the industry requires strategies to ensure skills are directed to locations of greatest need.  A balanced mix of local and mobile workforces will be required (including drive in/drive out and fly in/fly out strategies).
  • Improving workplace diversity by implementing policies designed to encourage greater industry participation by under-represented groups.  For example, females and Indigenous Australians would have a beneficial impact on securing the long term supply of labour, particularly given the industry often operates in remote regions.

A recurring theme in the industry literature was the adoption of automated technology.  For example, the Component Automation in the Australian Mining Industry report by Australia Venture Consultants explored the adoption of component automation in the resources industry and the implications on skills requirements.  Component automation refers to automation, remote control and systems integration that occurs at a systems component level rather than across the system as a whole.  The report suggested that the trend toward component automation is likely to increase industry demand for electrical trades, networking technicians and automation technicians as well as information and communication technology (ICT) workers.  The existing workforce will be required to develop skills to support incremental new technologies that emerge in their field of expertise.

In summary there are several challenges facing the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry that affect future skilling needs.  These include the need for increased productivity and efficiency due to lower commodity prices and increased international competition, an ageing workforce, and technological change.

 

 

 

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Regulatory bodies

Access Canberra

Australian Explosives Industry and Safety Group (AEISG)

Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry & Resources

NSW Department of Industry - Resources Regulator

NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NT WorkSafe

QLD Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA)

TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Tasmanian Department of State Growth

VIC Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation 

Water NSW

Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

WorkCover New South Wales

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Victoria

Worksafe WA - Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Civil Infrastructure

Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT)

Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA)

Australian Constructors Association (ACA)

Austroads

Auststab

Civil Contractors Federation (CCF)

Construction & Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG)

Construction Skills QLD

Dial Before You Dig

Engineers Australia

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

Roads Australia

Traffic Management Association of Australia (TMAA)

 

Coal Mining

Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA)

Australian Mining Association (AMA)

Coal Services

Mine Managers Association of Australia (MMAA)

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

Mines Rescue

NSW Mining and Petroleum Competence Board

Queensland Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee (CMSHAC)

 

Drilling

Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT)

Australian Drilling Industry Association (ADIA)

Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee (ADITC)

International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC)

National Uniform Driller Licensing Committee (NUDLC)

NSW Mining and Petroleum Competence Board

Piling and Foundation Specialists Federation (PFSF)

 

Extractive Industries (Quarrying)

Australian Asphalt and Pavement Association (AAPA)

Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA)

Construction Material Processors Association (CMPA)

Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA)

NSW Mining and Petroleum Competence Board

Victorian Limestone Producers Association (VLPA)

 

Metalliferous Mining

Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA)

Australian Mining Association (AMA)

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

NSW Mining and Petroleum Competence Board

 

State Training Advisory Bodies

Construction Industry Training Board (SA)

Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ)

Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISAC NT)

Resources and Infrastructure NSW Industry Training Advisory Body

Resources Industry Training Council (RITCWA)

 

Primary unions

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)

 

Industry Growth Centres

METS Ignited

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)

Data sources and notes

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET Students and Courses 2014, 2015, 2016 Program enrolments RII - Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>.

  • Employed total, between 2000 and 2017, May Quarter, by ANZSIC 2 digit industries:
    • 06 Coal Mining
    • 07 Oil and Gas Extraction
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining
    • 09 Non-Metallic Mineral Mining and Quarrying
    • 10 Exploration and Other Mining Support Services
    • B0 Mining, nfd
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • employment projections to May 2022, by ANZSIC 2 digit industries:
    • 06 Coal Mining
    • 07 Oil and Gas Extraction
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining
    • 09 Non-Metallic Mineral Mining and Quarrying
    • 10 Exploration and Other Mining Support Services
    • B0 Mining, nfd
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.

 

Updated: 05 Oct 2018
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