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Is a New mining boom on the horizon?

Image: Wricor Photography

Although it has not yet been called another boom, where we are right now, looks like a new boom might be well on its way. It’s been five years since the last boom ended abruptly, as over 20,000 people became jobless, but new data shows that new employment in the resources sector is growing rapidly and currently sits at one new employment every hour. The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also shows the resources sector is investing almost $1 million every hour.

The Queensland Resources Council says that coal and gas are the current hot commodities, and the prices seem to be holding up very well, however not yet at ‘boom’ levels. The construction boom that also ended five years ago has certainly increased capacity, and the roll-on effect is what we are seeing right now in the resources sector.

The main element that hints that a boom is on the way is the confidence surge. investment by resource companies in Queensland in 2017/2018 was $8.6 billion, which equates to $23.6 million every day. There were almost 8500 new jobs created which matches the one per hour data. It was the first year of growth since 2013/2014, and the first year of an increase in mining capital expenditure since 2013-14.

Currently, there are areas that will benefit most from a new boom, with a massive push to employ locally, rather than rely as heavily on FIFO workers as they did during the last boom. Awareness of life impacts on FIFO workers has changed the way the industry looks at employees (to an extent) and hiring locals to fulfill the roles needed will benefit greatly in places like Mackay, in more ways than one. Hopefully, the industry will manage employment far better in the next boom.

New employment figures show that there are more than 1400 vacancies in the Queensland mining sector and over half of them feature salaries higher than $100,000 a year. There is a skills shortage in the mining sector because of the high demands in other industries like civil and engineering.

If you’ve visited Dalrymple Bay in recent times, you may have noticed that there is a huge line-up of ships off the coal port, with waiting times up to three weeks for loading.

If that’s not a sign of big things to come, then what is?

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