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Overview

This page provides information and data on the Coal Mining sector, which is one component of the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry.

The Coal Mining sector includes both open cut and underground coal mining and is concentrated in New South Wales and Queensland.  In 2009, the value of the Coal Mining sector to the Australian economy was $38.2 billion per annum; however, this figure had decreased to $15.9 billion in 2015.  The Coal Mining sector is dominated by large organisations reflecting the significant investment costs required to maintain a viable operation within the sector.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for a range of Coal Mining sector related occupations such as:

  • Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers
  • Other Building and Engineering Technicians
  • Safety Inspectors.

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

For more information on Civil InfrustructureExtractive IndustriesMetalliferous Mining, and Drilling sectors, 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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Coal Mining sector increased more than threefold over the period from 2000 until 2012. Over the following five years, despite some fluctuations, employment levels have declined overall. The employment level for the sector is projected to decrease further between 2017 and 2022.

Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers make up 32% of the Coal Mining industry sector workforce. The employment level in this occupation is projected to increase further until 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 2,300 enrolments in coal mining sector qualifications during 2016 and just over 150 completions. Enrolments decreased significantly between 2014 and 2015 before rising slightly in 2016. Completions decreased between 2014 and 2016. Most of the training was at the Certificate II and Certificate IV levels.

A large proportion of training is for the intended occupation of Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers.

The vast majority of training is provided by private training providers of which over 90% was funded by domestic fee for service.  Over two-thirds of training was for students from Queensland.

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions have declined significantly between 2010 and 2016. Consequently, in 2016 there were very few apprentices and trainees in the coal mining sector.

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

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, Title: Top priority skills,, leadership and management, technical capability including production skills and plant operation, information technology and technological change, workplace safety and compliance, foundation skills / language, literacy and numeracy,, Title: Top generic skills,, managerial / leadership, design mindset / thinking critically / system thinking / solving problems, data analysis, communication / virtual collaboration / social intelligence, technology,, Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top 5 generic skills in demand,, communication skills, planning, organisational skills, team work / collaboration, detail oriented,, Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, metal fitters and machinists, other building and engineering technicians, electricians, drillers, miners and shot firers, truck drivers,, Title: Top 5 locations,, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia,, Title: Top employers,, Peabody Energy Corporation, Whitehaven Coal, Techserve, Yan coal,, Infographic source, Priority skills source: Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work the top priority skills in the Coal Mining sector are:

  • leadership and management
  • technical capability including production skills and plant operation
  • information technology and technological change
  • workplace safety and compliance
  • foundation skills/Language, literacy and numeracy.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers were communication, and planning and organisation skills. The most in demand occupation in the Coal Mining sector was Metal Fitters and Machinists and the top locations were Queensland and New South Wales.

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

  • Demand for coking coal as a steel making ingredient is expected to increase due to the continuing urbanisation of China, leading to a sustained demand for coking coal miners.
  • Future demand for thermal coal is susceptible to the continued uptake of renewable energies as it is predominantly used for power generation. This trend is likely to result in decreased demand for thermal coal miners.
  • Since the mining boom peaked, there has been a shift in focus towards productivity and efficiency gains in the Coal Mining sector.  The focus on productivity has led to an increased uptake of technology and automation within the sector, reducing demand for low skilled labour.  This continuing trend will require digital, analytical and software skills to better capture and understand data and where efficiencies can be achieved.

For insights on the broader Mining industry, please visit the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure cluster page.

Links and resources

Regulators

Access Canberra

Australian Explosives Industry and Safety Group (AEISG)

Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry & Resources

NSW Department of Industry - Resources Regulator

NT WorkSafe

Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA)

Tasmanian Department of State Growth

Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

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

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)

 

State training advisory bodies

Construction Industry Training Board (SA)

Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ)

Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISAC NT)

Resources Industry Training Council (RITCWA)

Resources and Infrastructure NSW Industry Training Advisory Body

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)

 

Relevant research

2015 environmental scan - SkillsDMC

Resources and infrastructure: industry workforce analysis and forecast - SkillsDMC

Data sources and notes

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

  • employment projections to May 2022, by ANZSIC 2 digit industry:
    • 06 Coal Mining.
  • by ANZSCO, selected 4 digit occupations, employment projections to May 2022:
    • 7122 Drillers  Miners and Shot Firers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
    • 3129 Other Building and Engineering Technicians.

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, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter, by ANZSIC 2 digit industry:
    • 06 Coal Mining.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2011 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by:
    • 06 Coal Mining industry
    • 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                                                                                                                              

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • RII - Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package
    • RII20309 - Certificate II in Underground Coal Mining
    • RII20313 - Certificate II in Underground Coal Mining
    • RII20315 - Certificate II in Underground Coal Mining
    • RII30209 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII30212 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII30213 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII30215 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII40209 - Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
    • RII40212 - Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
    • RII40213 - Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
    • RII40215 - Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
    • RII40409 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII40411 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII40412 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII40413 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII40415 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Operations
    • RII50909 - Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII50912 - Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII50913 - Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII50915 - Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII60309 - Advanced Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII60312 - Advanced Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII60313 - Advanced Diploma of Underground Coal Mining Management
    • RII60709 - Advanced Diploma of Surface Coal Mining Management
    • RII60713 - Advanced Diploma of Surface Coal Mining Management
    • RII60715 - Advanced Diploma of Surface Coal Mining Management
  • MNC - Coal Training Package
    • MNC20104 - Certificate II in Surface Coal Operations
    • MNC20107 - Certificate II in Surface Coal Operations
    • MNC20198 - Certificate II in Coal Operations
    • MNC20204 - Certificate II in Coal Preparation
    • MNC20304 - Certificate II in Underground Coal Operations
    • MNC20307 - Certificate II in Underground Coal Operations
    • MNC30104 - Certificate III in Surface Coal Mining Operations
    • MNC30198 - Certificate III in Coal Operations
    • MNC30204 - Certificate III in Coal Preparation
    • MNC30304 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • MNC30307 - Certificate III in Underground Coal Operations
    • MNC40104 - Certificate IV in Surface Coal Mining (Open Cut Examiner)
    • MNC40304 - Certificate IV in Underground Coal Mining.

      Superseded qualifications and training packages are grouped with current training products.

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

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

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labour Insight – real-time labour market information tool. <http://www.burning-glass.com> 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related occupations (1–6 digit level Technicians and Trades Workers, Labourers and Machinery Operators and Drivers) in the Coal Mining sector and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass Labour Insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations (1–6 digit level Technicians and Trades Workers, Labourers and Machinery Operators and Drivers) in the Coal Mining sector.
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