Mining revival drives jobs

Article by Jason Mennell, Kalgoorlie Miner

September 28, 2018

 

A rebounding WA resources sector has driven the number of people employed in mining across the State to record levels.

 

Statistics announced yesterday by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for the 2017-18 financial year show more than 112,000 people directly employed in the mining industry.

 

The statistics also reveal the mineral and petroleum industry reported sales of $114.9 billion, up $10 billion from the previous year.

 

The amount was the second highest financial year sales value on record, behind only the $123 billion achieved in 2013-14, with a number of commodities reaching record production levels including gold, iron ore, LNG and lithium.

 

Increased volumes combined with strong gold prices to deliver a 5 per cent increase in the value of the gold sector from $10.8 billion in 2016-17 to $11.4 billion.

 

Nickel also turned the corner with the value of the sector increasing 26 per cent from $2.1 billion in 2016-17 to $2.6 billion.

 

President of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jessica Biddle said the encouraging statistics reflected current buoyancy in the resources industry across the Goldfields.

 

“There is a lot of exploration happening and a lot of it is gold but…lithium mines are popping up are getting a bit of traction,” she said.

 

“I do believe the nickel price is clawing its way back so mines are coming out of care and maintenance and coming back on board.”

 

Shane Moore, Mining People International general manager for workforce operations in Kalgoorlie, said almost “everyone” in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was reliant, in some way, on the mining industry.

 

“We’re very excited by the resurgence of the gold and nickel sectors, coupled with the lithium sector, which we expect all to be very positive for Kalgoorlie-Boulder over coming months and years,” he said.

 

“We see a very positive period ahead and not just for the large volume bulk commodities such as iron ore, but across a number of the boutique metals used in electric vehicles including the new metals as well as nickel. Along with strength in gold mining we see a good period ahead for the people of Kalgoorlie Boulder and new people to the region, which we believe, will also be needed.”

 

Ms Biddle who also owns Eagle Petroleum said she had seen a resurgence in the industry reflected by the growth of her business.

 

“In my business we have increased in five staff in the last year to accommodate an increase in demand from the mines,” she said.“No one wants to talk of a boom but there is talk (of) the next three to four to five years being exceptional.”