Ageing baby boomers, few replacements threaten U.S. mining sector—NRC Report – by Dorothy Kosich ( – March 22, 2013)

The retirement of the baby boomers who comprise the bulk of the mining-related workforce could mean problems for mining, academia, and even the American life style, says a new report.

To read the report, “Emerging Workforce Trends in the Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action,” go to

RENO (MINEWEB) – A new report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Engineering is concerning that the loss of a large number of experienced energy and mining workers in industry, academia, and government may actually impact the high standard of living and importance of the United States in the global economy.

For example, the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) expects that 46% of the coal-sector workforce will be eligible to return in five years.

“Not only are there too few younger workers in the pipeline to replace them, but there is little time to capture the knowledge of experienced employees before they leave,” said the NRC’s Committee on Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries.

The report also suggests that federal employees hav a critical role in, and impact on, the success of the U.S. energy and mining industries. However, the federal agencies that employ mining and energy professionals have found the majority of their employees are currently eligible or will be eligible for retirement in four years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 128,000 were employed in nonfuel mining in 2010, while coal mining employed 89,200 persons.


“Another major crosscutting factor is that a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills is needed for many energy and mining jobs,” the committee noted. “However, the current pipeline of STEM-capable students and workers is inadequate to meet work force needs.

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