Australia’s Mining Hub Needs Workers for Boom Times – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – June 20, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Some A$140 billion ($105 billion) in projects in Western Australia’s resources sector may not be fully realized unless the state addresses a chronic shortage in skilled workers, according to a industry group.

From electricians to metallurgists, the industry needs to attract up to 40,000 extra workers over the next two years, according to the report from consultancy Pit Crew, commissioned by WA’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy. The CME called on industry and government to collaborate on ways to combat the shortages.

Rio Tinto Group in its March quarter production report said labor resource availability had disrupted its maintenance work in the state, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. reported in May that labor constraints had contributed to rising costs at its Iron Bridge growth project in the Pilbara.

Mineral Resources Ltd. said in April that a shortage of truck drivers meant that about 10,000 metric tons a day of its haulage capacity was sitting idle.

“We simply aren’t going to be able to address our workforce needs within the talent pool that is currently available in WA or, indeed, the country,” Paul Everingham, CME’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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