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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 $248 billion during 2018 and employing over 350,000 people in 2018. 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 2019 Skills Forecast.

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 industry sectors have risen overall between 2015 and 2018 (apart from Mining nfd). Employment levels are projected to increase slightly over the five years in most sectors with the exceptions being Metal Ore Mining, and Exploration and Other Mining Support Services.

There were approximately 68,460 program enrolments in the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package during 2018, and 17,460 completions. Both program enrolments and completions declined between 2015 and 2018. There has been a considerable increase in subject-only enrolments, growing from 337,760 in 2014 to about 549,010 in 2018. 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. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identifies three key drivers that will influence the future skills required by the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry workforce.

  • A steady economic environment: Global demand for resources continues, and there are high levels of State and Federal investment in large civil infrastructure projects, particularly in road and rail with the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 showing there was $130 billion of transport infrastructure projects under construction in 2018.
  • Changing technology: As the uptake of automation, digital technologies and prefabrication increase, advanced digital and cognitive skills are becoming more valuable and enabling the ability to adjust to new ways of working in the sector.
  • Safety and risk management: Heightened focus on safety and environmental threats is demanding increased awareness of and responsibility for business risks. Nano-diesel particulate matter (nDPM) control, fatigue management and the increasing importance of a social licence to operate are redefining how and which kinds of businesses firms operate.

As Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast reports, there is a need for tailored training to enable individuals entering the resources sector from another industry to reskill and increased focus on skills that are transferable across sectors. A report for the Minerals Council of Australia by EY, The Future of Work: The Changing Skills Landscape for Miners, highlights the tendency to reduce the workforce in response to economic downturns results in a loss of relevant skills, subject-matter expertise and sector-wide experience that is costly to remedy in subsequent upturns. The report by Atkinson and Hargreaves (2014) An Exploration of Labour Mobility in Mining and Construction: Who Moves and Why, supports the importance of workforce mobility in filling demand for skills and labour, suggesting possible solutions to address skill and labour demands could be a broader search radius for potential employees, a more flexible approach to relevant experience, engagement with apprenticeship programs and collaborative programs/activities with education providers to produce work-ready graduates.

A recurring theme in the industry literature is the adoption of automated technology. The Component Automation in the Australian Mining Industry report by Australia Venture Consultants, suggests 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, with the existing workforce required to develop skills to support incremental new technologies that emerge in their field of expertise. A Robotics Roadmap for Australia by the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision predicts the greatest ongoing impact for robotics in the resources sector is in the actual mining process (drill/blast/load/haul) and comminution (breaking of rocks). For infrastructure, the Roadmap anticipates an increase in the usage of smart technologies and robotics in inspection, quality control and maintenance, particularly in hostile environments, and remote or extensive infrastructure. The Resource Industry Training Council’s 2018 Industry Developments and Workforce Challenges report states relatively few job roles will be heavily impacted, for example haul truck drivers, with automation mainly occurring at the task level and there will be an increase in cross-skilling or hybridization of roles. Industry is finding the training products are not evolving quickly enough and the existing workforce is being upskilled for automation through just-in-time learning, micro-credentials or skills sets internally in collaboration with technology suppliers, challenging existing delivery paradigms which are still largely based at the full qualification level. The Future of Work: The Changing Skills Landscape for Miners predicts robotics and automation will require greater skills in data and digital technologies for occupations including drill operators, surveyors and field geologists and increase demand for remote vehicle operators.

PwC’s Mine 2019: Resourcing the Future reports that safety remains a challenge for the mining industry, however using technology and automation may assist reducing the risks of injury to workers. The findings of a case study analysis conducted by EY for the Minerals Council of Australia concur. The Future of Work: the Economic Implications of Technology and Digital Mining report states advancements in automation and remote operations can provide improvements to firstly workforce health and wellbeing by shifting the type and severity of risks they are exposed to, and secondly to environmental management through reductions in the overall environmental footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Mine 2019: Resourcing the Future report also suggests the industry should address the awareness gap between 'the brand of mining' and 'the benefits of mining'. Mining produces the raw materials for many essential products that people rely on and the industry needs to engage the younger generation who represent the future workforce. This is supported by the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision National Roadmap that states social licence to operate has become more important in the resource sector, and there is an imperative to engage with the community over contentious issues such as robotics in the workforce.

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

Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

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)

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

A Robotics Roadmap for Australia – Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

An Exploration of Labour Mobility in Mining and Construction: Who Moves and Why – G. Atkinson and J. Hargreaves

Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 – Infrastructure Australia

Australian Infrastructure Plan 2016: Priorities and Reforms for Our Nation’s Future – Infrastructure Australia

Component Automation in the Australian Mining Industry  – Australia Venture Consultants

Future Cities: Planning for Our Growing Population – Infrastructure Australia

Future of Work: The Economic Implications of Technology and Digital Mining – Ernst & Young Australia

Industry Developments and Workforce Challenges – Resource Industry Training Council

Prioritising Reform: Progress on the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan – Infrastructure Australia

Mine 2019: Resourcing the Future – PwC Australia

The Future of Work: The Changing Skills Landscape for Miners – Ernst & Young Australia

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit industries employment projections to May 2023
    • 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.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument.

  • Employed total, by ANZSIC 2 digit industries, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 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.

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:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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: 01 Nov 2019
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