People & training follow prices
IT’s a spike unlike any other in the history of CQ mining.
Wednesday 26 October 2016
Mining trainers and recruiters are reporting a significant increase in activity as skyrocketing coal prices trigger a scramble to find skilled people.
The coking coal price has risen from roughly $100 a tonne to around $315 a tonne, which based on current production estimates is likely to increase coal revenue to BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American by $23 billion over this financial year.
However, the price rises are not expected to last forever, and won’t inspire a construction boom as we saw at the end of the last decade to expand capacity.
Instead, miners are looking to ramp up existing operations and revisit the economics of deposits in care and maintenance.
However, with the current workforce, the smallest in decades, and output the highest on record, Nic Willis from ExtraStaff says they are starting to see demand for skills.
“We see more recruitment activity, but only with certain clients, particularly if they are looking to take advantage of a more flexible workforce,” she told Shift Miner.
“The demand is in the skilled areas like multi-skilled operators, and diesel fitters, but demand for administrative roles have really reduced over the last two or so years, not only in the mining community but also within the towns.
“The positions are predominantly casual, with very little permanent in the market, which is unlike the height of the boom when there were a lot of permanent roles on offer as companies fought to lock the skilled candidates in place.
“[Back then]Companies were more open to employing for the right attitude and upskilling, now there are so many candidates looking for work employers can be more demanding in the types of skills and experience they require.”
Not surprisingly, with people re-entering mining, and the existing workforce feeling more confident about the future, Gregg Jones General Manager of Sharp Training in Mackay says there's also increased investment in training.
While they don’t track details of whether the training is for permanent, contracted or casual roles, he says an anecdotal observation is that the roles being offered are shorter term.
“We do see an increase, particularly with self-paying students for training due to work coming up and onboarding requirements for various work sites,” he told Shift Miner.
“ It varies across a range of our higher load programs and is sometimes shutdown related through the peaks and troughs, but the activity ranges from STD 11 induction training through to our Working at Heights and Confined Space Training, where we see reasonable amounts of refresher training coming through.
“ We are also experiencing high loads in Supervisor skill sets (G1,8,9 or S123) and Trainer / Assessor skill sets.
“There is a definite shift since the height of the boom with casual or contract personnel demands being much higher, with shorter work contracts that can be turned off or renewed due to the volatility we've seen in the sector.”