Mining industry gearing up for ‘critical’ manpower shortage – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – July 27, 2017)

TIMMINS – A labour market outlook for Canada’s mining industry is forecasting a critical period in the next 10 years trying to replace the anticipated influx of retirees. That being said, the mining industry is also looking at finding a long-term supply of workers who can cope with the economic ups and downs so familiar to the industry.

The concerns are spelled out in a labour market report produced by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MIHRC). “One of the most significant challenges facing Canada’s mining industry is establishing a sustainable supply of labour that is able to withstand the economic volatility that characterizes the sector,” said the report.

There was sympathy for that concern by Domenic Rizzuto of Timmins, the human resources manager for Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines, one of this city’s largest employers. “The issue that our industry has is that we have an aging workforce. A lot of our skilled trades and a lot of our skilled mining personnel are averaging about 50 years old,” said Rizzuto.

“There are not a lot of people that have come up behind them in the industry.” Rizzuto said a gap was created when there was a brief downturn in the mining industry. “There wasn’t a lot of training that was going on and a lot of the educational systems also didn’t have a lot of people going into any type of program that was geared for mining, so there was that gap.”

The report also spoke about the “critical gaps” that are anticipated from 2018 through to 2017. “The incoming generation of new entrants are vitally important to the health of mining’s future labour supply, especially prospective students,” said the report. It said key programs would need to focus on improving the labour supply.

For the rest of this article: