8 September Addressing skill shortages September 8, 2021 By AMPLA Admin General, Mining, Resources and Energy 0 Addressing skill shortages The resources industry is currently experiencing significant skill and labour shortages that threaten to impact growth. In Western Australia alone, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy predicts the state will require over 40,000 additional skilled workers in the next two years, with the shortfall peaking at 33,000. The constrained labour market is a result of the COVID-19 restrictions that have impacted the import of labour from overseas and across state borders, in addition to the challenges of managing both snap and extended lockdowns. This has not only impacted productivity levels for many but also increased the cost of hiring. These restrictions have plagued the industry for almost 18 months and are expected to continue into the next year. To address labour shortages some organisations have had to modify their operating strategy. For example, Silver Lake Resources has cut mill operations to focus on stockpiles at the Mount Monger gold mine. While others have delayed aspects of their operations, like Albemarle who has delayed the second stage of its Kemerton lithium processing plant by three months as a result of labour constraints. Some organisations have shifted their recruitment focus to training entry-level workers. At its Mount Isa operations, Glencore has recently opened up 40 new positions for apprentices in addition to the existing 266 apprentices and 115 graduates currently on staff. While this goes some way to addressing immediate skill shortages, the inexperienced nature of apprentices and junior staff means it will take many years before full productivity can be realised through this strategy. But it ensures a strong pipeline of skilled labour for the industry into the future. Another strategy being employed is to retrain workers from other industries adversely impacted by the global pandemic. For example, Roy Hill has looked to the aviation and defence industries to fill vacant roles. For those organisations with a pipeline of interstate workers, they’re encouraging adjustments to the traditional fly-in, fly-out arrangements. Rather than returning interstate for breaks, some companies are encouraging workers to remain within their state to avoid being stranded due to lockdowns. Another solution to the skills shortage is automation. This doesn’t necessarily mean replacing labour but rather utilising different skill sets to perform tasks. For example, automated machinery can be operated remotely by a more flexible workforce that isn’t impacted by border closures. While the global pandemic continues to create new challenges for businesses, it has shown that it also provides opportunities for organisations to try new and innovative ways of working. Related Articles Energy industry and government response to COVID-19 In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, government and industry have come together to ensure the community, economy and industry are supported. The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council (COAG Energy Council) has formed the Energy Coordination Mechanism (ECM) which is expected to have a complete plan by the end of April. The immediate focus of these efforts has been on four areas The impact of coronavirus on the energy and resources industry The last few weeks have seen the world face an unprecedented disruption with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). First reported in China, we’re now seeing many countries shutting down for periods of time to try to contain the spread of the virus. Australia is facing a particularly difficult year given the bushfires that ravaged the country recently. Now with COVID-19 adding to the pain, the energy and resources industry is being impacted in several ways outlined below. How COVID-19 could change mining for the better The mining industry was deemed an essential service by the Government, which has enabled it to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this hasn’t been without its challenges. New processes and procedures were required to address safety and social distancing and issues of supply and worker mobility have impacted how the industry operates. But with adversity comes opportunity and the mining industry has thrived and realised the potential for new improvements amidst the pandemic. Digital transformation in mining and energy As the global shift to remote work gathers pace, it is more important than ever that the mining and energy sector embraces technology. But a digital transformation offers more than flexible working arrangements. It has the potential to drastically cut down on industrial accidents, optimise operational processes and slash costs. What is concerning mining and metals industry executives today? Recent surveys conducted in the mining and metals industry sector indicate that climate change, price volatility and the risk of a global depression are the top concerns for executives. The KMPG Mining Risk Forecast 2020/21 Report nominates climate change and price risks as top-of-mind for executives while a mid-year survey by White & Case found that the fear of a global recession was the most common concern amongst those surveyed. It’s worth noting that the KMPG survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the concerns raised have ongoing relevance both now and into the future. Climate change action is being driven by business and industry While everyone’s focus in recent months has been on the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change was top of everyone’s mind when the year began with bushfires ravaging Australia. The pandemic has seen individuals and organisations assess their ideologies and perspectives on a range of topics, climate change being one of them. It now seems that climate change is back on everyone’s agenda and none more so than business and industry. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.