8 Jul

Mining in Australia: where it stands halfway through 2015

The mining industry in Australia has faced its fair share of peaks and valleys ever since it experienced a boom that ran until around halfway through 2012.

In more recent months, however, the number of mining jobs – particularly those classified as operational mining jobs (e.g. on-site) – have experienced notable drops, painting a picture for the industry that has become all-too-common over the past few years. 

In short, the mining industry is down (but not out) in employment and operational numbers. Whether or not another mining boom is on the horizon remains to be seen. For now, though, here are some of the key numbers as listed by Mining Australia.

On a state-by-state-by-territory basis, the Northern Territory was the only territory (and, by extension, only part of Australia), to see a boost in operational mining job numbers. The games were minor, though. Two jobs were lost, and 127 were gained, making for a total of 125 jobs gained.

The other states qualified as follows:

  • Western Australia – 2,503 total jobs lost (based off 427 gained, 2,930 lost)
  • South Australia – 70 total jobs lost (based off 75 gained, 668 lost – note that the issue with these numbers may be due to typo from original source or potential additional factors that were left unlisted; either way, the fact that SA experienced a loss is reiterated throughout original article – view here)
  • Queensland – 433 total jobs lost (based off 0 gained, 433 lost)
  • NSW – 852 total jobs lost (based off 36 gained, 888 lost)
  • Victoria – 85 total jobs lost (based off 0 gained, 85 lost)

As shown in the below graph, the overall number of mining jobs throughout the first 6 months of 2015 have seen a deficit in numbers.

The next graph provides greater insight into which resource sectors suffered the biggest losses.

The likes of iron ore, coal, and gold and copper have seem some of the biggest losses over time, including the time spanning January to June 2015.

When analysing the overall trend of the mining industry’s employment sentiment, it’s clear that the industry has been struggling with consistent employment numbers since the second half of 2012, and reaching the positive peaks from 2010 to 2012 has proved difficult. This sentiment is reflective of when mining jobs are cut or mining proposals are rejected. So since about halfway 2012, more and more mining jobs have been cut and less and less proposals have been approved.

That said, the drops into negative numbers has been less severe, sentiment-wise, in 2015. While it’s no guaranteed of a positive change in the future, it at least shows that the industry’s employment numbers could hopefully be stabilising a little more. We’ll have to wait and see how the second half of 2015 plays out for the mining industry.

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