Nicolas Perpitch

The number of jobs being advertised for mining engineers in Western Australia has almost doubled over 12 months, signalling what industry leaders say is renewed increase in resource activity.

The change comes after several years of downturn for many commodities in the sector, during which jobs for engineers, geologists and others have often been scarce.

According to Engineers Australia, the low point over the past decade for mining engineering jobs was in April 2016, when only 101 vacancies were recorded for the month.

However, the peak body’s latest Engineering Vacancies report shows the number of vacancies for mining engineers jumped to 188 in April 2017.

In April 2017 there were more vacancies recorded for mining engineers than any other engineering occupation in WA,” the report, which analyses Commonwealth Department of Employment figures, said.

More investment in the sector

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison said there was more investment in the sector.

“You’re seeing quite a bit of activity in the merger and acquisitions phase, particularly in the situation of gold, where again you’re seeing companies buy into smaller operations to get them through the development phase and up and into production,’ Mr Bennison said.

“I think that’s creating opportunities for mining engineers and the other occupations like mining managers and so forth, that are associated with that transitional phase into production.”

There are predictions the current shortage of mining engineers will grow.

Professor Sam Spearing from the Curtin University’s School of Mines said there had been a 30 per cent drop in enrolments at the school in the past two years, partly because of media reports on the downturn.

“We will probably have a shortage as we move forward, because as I say, there is this bad press, which is, in my opinion, ridiculous,” he said.

He also attributed it to the Government’s decision last year to take mining, metallurgy and petroleum off the skills occupation list, meaning foreign students could not apply for permanent residence after doing the course.

Author: WASMA

The history of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) reflects the ups and downs of the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) and the role it has played in supporting graduates in a range of activities and events. It also describes the important role that graduates have played in ensuring WASM remains in Kalgoorlie. Learn more.