New report predicts major worker shortage in mining over next decade – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – June 29, 2018)

Forecast expects 2,819 workers will be needed through the Cochrane District

A new report is predicting a shortage of 2,819 workers in the mining industry in the Cochrane District over the next 10 years and suggests a number of recommendations to combat the trend.

The report, released on June 6 by the Far North East Training Board (FNETB), found that there will be a 14 per cent expansion in the workforce and a workforce retirement forecast of 30 per cent, for a combined 44 per cent deficit in the workforce between 2017 and 2027.

All nine of the active mines in the region participated in the study, as did 150 service and supply companies. People working in the industry have been aware of the growing shortage for years, noted Julie Joncas, the FNETB’s executive director.

But the sheer number of workers required was surprising given that two mines are nearing the end of their useful lives – De Beers’ Victor diamond mine is slated to close in 2019, while Glencore’s Kidd Creek base metals mine in Timmins is scheduled for closure in 2023.

“Retirements alone are going to have a huge impact,” Joncas said. “And that doesn’t mean that all these people will retire during that period; it means they become eligible to retire.”

Roughly 40 per cent of the workforce in the region will become eligible to retire between now and 2031, marking the last wave of baby boomers, she said, and once that’s factored into the existing shortage, the region will really be “feeling the crunch” for new workers.

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