There is no way to sugarcoat the toll that COVID-19 has taken on Australians. A massive wave of uncertainty swept the globe in early 2020, and the pandemic is far from over.
However, in this excessively tumultuous time, mining companies in Western Australia are seeing a high demand for workers who can fill vacant jobs and help meet the need for various materials.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia estimates the number of experienced mine workers needed in the coming months should reach around 8,000 or more. Industry experts are looking at the likelihood of Western Australia maintaining its tight COVID-19 restrictions into the coming year. This information helps to increase the need for skilled mine workers.
The chief executive of CME, Paul Everingham, confirmed the industry had a significant need for specific positions before the pandemic. He noted several high demand positions prior to COVID-19 and interstate travel limitations:
- Heavy diesel fitters
- Professional engineers
- Technology specialists
At the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak, the WA mining industry moved fast to ensure that their employees were in the areas where they would be able to make the most significant contribution to the mining effort. In many cases, the relocations were permanent. An estimated 5,000 workers who at one time were fly-in-fly-out employees, moved to WA ahead of the border closings.
Everingham was quick to point out that many members of the CME started recruitment before the pandemic took hold, so the changes were not merely reactionary.
Companies such as BHP gave employment opportunities to hundreds of locals in their quest to adequately staff mines. Other professions are essential to the safe operation of the mines. For example, Rio Tinto employs more than 100 nurses to staff airport screening facilities.
Which Positions Are Now in the Greatest Demand?
A great need exists for workers in many areas of mining operations. These include:
- Ancillary equipment drivers
- Cleaning and warehouse staff
- Equipment drivers
- Excavator operators
- Machinery operators
- Medical personnel
- Productions operators
- Trade assistants
- Truck drivers
Everingham says that per usual, the mining companies will work to fill positions with local employees. He estimates that approximately two per cent or less of the workers will come from outside of WA. Generally, these positions are highly specialised.
A surge in gold exploration in WA is also helping to drive the need for skilled workers, including drillers and geologists. Likewise, the laboratories responsible for examining the samples are experiencing backlogs that are delaying results for approximately six weeks.
At this time, it appears that the border restrictions have not deterred those interested in gold mines in WA. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Labour and Statistics, $209 million went towards gold exploration. The ABLS notes that it is a record amount of money invested in finding gold. The Department of Mines mentions that this level of activity in the exploration sector is at a five-year high.
How Can Fox Transportables Help?
Throughout the present crisis, Fox Transportables will continue to provide the same quality mining transportable buildings and top-notch customer service our customers enjoy.