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Overview

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

The Metalliferous Mining sector includes both the surface and underground mining of iron ore, copper, tin, nickel, gold, silver and zinc. For the purposes of grouping types of mines by sectors, Metalliferous Mining also includes the mining of gemstone, uranium and mineral sands. There are over 60 major employers in the sector each employing over 200 people. It is estimated that the sector was worth $53 billion to the Australian economy in 2016. Due to the different metals mined within the sector, a variety of skills and equipment are required to mine each resource effectively.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for Metalliferous Mining sector related occupations such as:

  • Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers.
  • Miner
  • Backhoe Operator.

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

For more information on Civil Infrastructure, Coal Mining, Drilling and Extractive Industries 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 most recently available Skills Forecast, the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecasts

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Metalliferous Mining IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

The mining boom saw the employment level in the Metal Ore Mining industry increase significantly between 2000 and 2012. The post boom years saw the industry employment level decline between 2012 and 2016. Following a rise in 2017, employment levels in this industry sector fluctuated but have risen overall to around 99,300 in 2020 and are projected to increase to 114,100 by 2024.

Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers make up 19% of the Metal Ore Mining industry workforce with the employment level in this occupation expected to increase over the next five years to 2024 by around 10%. Metal Fitters and Machinists and Other Building and Engineering Technicians, with around 11% and 6% of the industry sector workforce, are projected to increase by approximately 4% and 15% respectively.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 500 program enrolments in Metalliferous Mining-related qualifications during 2019, a substantial decrease by over half on the previous year. Program completions in 2019 also decreased substantially on the previous year, to around 130.

The majority of enrolments during 2019 were in the certificate III (55%) qualification level, with 27% in the certificate III and 17% in the certificate IV qualification levels. The main intended occupation at the certificate II and III levels was Miner. Training at the certificate IV level was intended for the occupation of Mine Deputy.

In 2019, roughly 90% of enrolments were with private training providers, with 100% of training at the certificate II level also delivered by private training providers. Nearly 64% of subjects were funded by domestic fee for service, with Commonwealth and state funding (36%) making up the rest. Thirty-nine per cent of students who enrolled during 2019 resided in New South Wales, with 18% in Tasmania and 16% overseas.

Over 44% of all training was delivered in New South Wales, followed by Western Australia (28%) and Tasmania (17%).

There were approximately 910 apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in 2019, an increase on the previous year and more than three times the number in 2010. There were roughly 620 apprenticeship and traineeship completions during 2019, which was an increase on the 540 completions in the previous year. As at December 2019, 71% of apprenticeship and traineeship training was reported from Western Australia. Apprentices and trainees were training towards the intended occupation of Miner.

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.

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

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the most important generic workforce skill priorities for the Metalliferous Mining sector as:

  • Technology
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Managerial/Leadership
  • Data analysis.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers were communication and planning. The most advertised occupations in the Metalliferous Mining sector were Maintenance Planner and Labourers (nec). The top employers for workers in this industry were BHP Billiton Limited and Rio Tinto.

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identifies several key issues affecting skills and training needs within the Metalliferous Mining Sector including:

  • In response to incidents of tailings dam failures, there is increased safety awareness in mining companies and regulators have issued new standards for management of tailings storage facilities. The competencies on tailings dams required by metalliferous mining operators, managers and specialist technicians need to be updated.
  • New competencies are needed on remote operating centres, remote vehicle operations, autonomous vehicles and drones within metalliferous mining-related qualifications.
  • Improve the alignment of training standards to current job roles and responsibilities in the sector, which would allow learners to specialise in specific metalliferous roles and promote clearer career pathways.

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

Links and resources

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

 

Regulators

Australian Explosives Industry and Safety Group (AEISG)

Tasmanian Department of State Growth

Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry & Resources

NSW Department of Industry - Resources Regulator

Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA)

Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

 

Safety regulators

Access Canberra

NT WorkSafe

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

SafeWork NSW

WorkCover Queensland

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Western Australia

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

For industry associations and advisory bodies specific to Civil Infrastructure, Coal Mining, Drilling and Extractive Industries sectors, please visit the respective pages.

 

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

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 Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU)

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal website

  • Employment projections to May 2024, by ANZSIC 2 digit industry:
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.
  • By ANZSCO, selected 4 digit occupations, employment projections to May 2024:
    • 7122 Drillers Miners and Shot Firers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
    • 3129 Other Building and Engineering Technicians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total, 2000 to 2020, May quarter, by ANZSIC 2 digit industry:
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by:
    • 08 Metal Ore 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 and MNM Metalliferous Mining Training Packages:

  • Certificate II in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII20409 – Certificate II in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII20413 – Certificate II in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII20415 – Certificate II in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • MNM20106 – Certificate II in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Open Cut).
  • Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII30309 – Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII30311 – Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII30313 – Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining
    • RII30315 – Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining.
  • Certificate IV in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Underground)
    • RII40311 – Certificate IV in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Underground)
    • RII40313 – Certificate IV in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Underground)
    • RII40315 – Certificate IV in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Underground).
  • Advanced Diploma of Metalliferous Mining
    • RII60109 – Advanced Diploma of Metalliferous Mining
    • RII60113 – Advanced Diploma of Metalliferous Mining
    • RII60115 – Advanced Diploma of Metalliferous 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:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 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. 

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

  • 2010 to 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions 
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Generic skills data have been extracted from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Machinery Operators and Drivers, Technicians and Trades Workers, Labourers
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.
  • Employers
    • 312911 Maintenance Planner
    • 899999 Labourers nec
    • 399999 Technicians and Trades Workers nec
    • 712212 Miner 341111 Electrician (General)
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.
Updated: 30 Nov 2020
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