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Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure

Overview

This page provides high-level information 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, the 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 combined, makes up a significant part of Australia’s economy, contributing around $237 billion during 2016 and employing approximately 370,000 people in 2017. 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 occupations 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 IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast

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 85,000 program enrolments in the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package during 2017, and nearly 18,500 completions. Both program enrolments and completions declined between 2014 and 2017, although there was a spike in completions during 2015. There has been a considerable increase in subject-only enrolments, growing from approximately 258,000 in 2014 to over 451,000 in 2017. 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.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

 

Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast identifies five key drivers that will influence the future skills required by the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry workforce.

  • Increased demand for workforce agility. Traditional career paths are changing, and it’s becoming increasingly common for Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure workers to move between job roles and industry sectors. This often means, there is a need for workers to meet a demand for skills in a particular area for a short timeframe, requiring transferable skills between industry sectors.
  • Increased investment in the infrastructure industry. Increased government spending has led to an increase in the number of civil infrastructure projects across Australia. This has led to a demand for suitably skilled workers, particularly in the area of trenchless technology.
  • The impact of new technology on ways of working. New technology in the sector is changing ways of working, leading to changes in the skills required for the future workforce.  Developments include the increasing use of automated vehicles, remote operation centres and drone technology particularly in mining, and of cyber chair, sonic drilling, and coil tube rigs in drilling. This has created demand for skills in operating, maintaining, and programming these new technologies.
  • Increased focus on safety measures. Industry, regulators and registered training organisations are concerned about a lack of clarity, in the distinction between units of competency skilling workers in tasks related to high risk work (such as rigging, scaffolding and dogging). This has potential to create some confusion for learners and employers, as to whether workers are suitably qualified to perform these tasks in accordance with work health and safety legislative requirements. The proposed response to the issue, is to update the training package to ensure the units of competency relating to high risk work, sit within the correct AQF level qualifications. Thus, ensuring adequately skilled workers are carrying out this high-risk work.
  • A need for greater support to develop managerial skills for leadership roles. The transition from operational to managerial job roles is significant and sometimes challenging for workers. Workers moving into managerial roles require support to develop skills in communication, project management, leadership and workplace diversity.

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 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 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 NSW

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

WorkCover Queensland

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)

Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services Growth Centre (METS Ignited)

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 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)

Mine Managers Association of Australia (MMAA)

Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services Growth Centre (METS Ignited)

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

Mines Rescue

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)

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)

 

Industry Growth Centres

METS Ignited

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)

 

Relevant research

Australian infrastructure plan 2016: priorities and reforms for our nation’s future Infrastructure Australia

Future cities: planning for our growing population Infrastructure Australia

Prioritising reform: progress on the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan Infrastructure Australia

Mine 2018: Tempting times PwC

 

Data sources and notes

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 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
    • 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
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training package:

  • RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Updated: 17 Dec 2018
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