Skills shortage back
BMA looks for casual labour out of Townsville in yet another strong sign of a coal recovery.
Wednesday 01 February 2017
Labour Hire businesses with contracts to supply BMA, are close to finalising the recruitment of 200 skilled operators in Townsville, who will fly in and out of the Bowen Basin for work from next week.
Given the upheaval in the mining sector over the last 5 years, it’s ironic that BMA say the decision to offer the FIFO roles from Townsville comes after months of unsuccessfully trying to fill the positions through conventionally advertising the positions without the flights to work included.
The new positions are at the Saraji and Peak Downs mines where BMA are trying to capitalise on the enormous coal price recovery experienced in the last six months.
BMA had record production at Peak Downs in the fourth quarter of last year, and for the first time started trucking coal overland to be processed through the near new Caval Ridge CHPP which was built with spare capacity.
While BMA says it’s still definitely looking for local candidates, the Townsville option provides another alternative.
“Labour hire providers to BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) are seeking to fill vacancies at some of our mines in the Bowen Basin by advertising FIFO roles from Townsville,” a spokesperson for the company told Shift Miner.
“Labour hire providers have identified Townsville as having numerous suitable candidates, and in the State Government’s 2016 budget update, the Townsville region was identified as having one of the highest unemployment rates in regional Queensland.
“We believe initiatives aimed at expanding the number of people securing employment opportunities in the mining sector are an important way of continuing to strengthen our operations.”
However, despite being a good sign for the industry as a whole, the reality is that the casual roles are a day to day proposition, and will evaporate if coal prices retreat to where they were in the early part of 2016.
Fortunately, most forecasters rate a fall of that magnitude as unlikely, even though prices have eased from the records (in A$) seen in November 2016.The fact that coal buyers have settled on new pricing contracts for the March quarter that are nearly double what they were twelve months ago adds strength to that argument.