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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 Coal MiningExtractive Industries, Civil Infrastructure, 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 IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

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, however there was an increase in 2017 with a further rise projected over the next five years.

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.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 760 program enrolments in Metalliferous Mining related qualifications during 2017, a decrease on the previous year, and substantially lower than the number in 2014. Program completions in 2017 also decreased on the previous year, to around 240, although this was higher than the total in 2014.

Enrolments during 2017, were spread across the certificate II (39%), certificate III (40%), and certificate IV (21%) 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 2017, nearly 80% of enrolments were with private training providers, most of the remaining portion were with community education providers who were particularly active at the certificate IV level. Over three quarters of subjects were funded by domestic fee for service (77%), with government-funding (23%) making up the rest. The majority of students who enrolled during 2017 were from either Western Australia (36%), New South Wales (35%) and Queensland (21%).

In 2017, there were approximately 770 apprenticeship commencements, a large increase on the previous year and nearly six times the number in 2012. There were around 280 apprenticeship completions during 2017, which was down slightly on the previous year but still substantially higher than the yearly totals seen between 2012 and 2015. As at December 2017, 70% of apprenticeship training was reported from Western Australia and apprentices 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.

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

Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2018 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 occupation in the Metalliferous Mining sector was Maintenance Planner.

The IRC Skills Forecast identifies a number of key issues affecting job demand and skills needs within the Metalliferous Mining Sector:

  • Employment in the sector is prone to cyclical trends, especially in precious metals such as gold or silver. However, continuing demand for Australia’s iron ore is expected to support employment levels.
  • Since the mining boom peaked there has been a shift away from expansion toward productivity and efficiency gains in the Metalliferous 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.
  • Competition from international metalliferous mining operations has increased pressure on Australian Miners to keep a low relative cost per unit of production. The resulting drive for production efficiency through technological changes and automation is expected to increase demand for analytical skills to optimise current production and decrease demand for low-skilled labour.

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)

Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

Tasmanian Department of State Growth

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 NSW

SafeWork SA

South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA)

Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

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)

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 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)

 

Relevant research

SkillsDMC: Resources and infrastructure: industry workforce analysis and forecast

 

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:
    • 08 Metal Ore 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:
    • 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)

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, 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. 

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 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 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 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <https://www.burning-glass.com>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Labourers, Machinery Operators and Drivers, Technicians and Trades Workers
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.
  • Employers
    • 312911 Maintenance Planner
    • 899999 Labourers nec
    • 341111 Electrician (General)
    • 399999 Technicians and Trades Workers nec
    • 733111 Truck Driver (General)
    • 08 Metal Ore Mining.
Updated: 18 Dec 2018
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