Australian mining industry needs skilled migrants

31 January 2011

Calls for increased skilled immigration are coming from Australia's mining industry as unemployment rates down under continue to fall.

Goldfields Chamber of Mining and Energy is urging the federal government to increase skilled immigration to help Australia's mining sector cope with expected labour shortages in the near future.

This is following a report by Access Economics warning that a lack of skilled workers could stifle Australian economic growth.

Australia's immigration strategy includes immigration programs to attract economic migrants. You can live and work in Australia if you gain enough points under the General Skilled Migration programme or find an employer who can sponsor you.

In recent years there has been significant increases in exports of minerals to China including exports of large quantities of coal and iron ore; Professions and trade occupations in the mining industry are in particular demand in Australia.

Linda Crook, CME Executive Officer at Goldfields, says that lack of skilled labour is the main problem affecting Australia's mining industry.

"No mining operation can go ahead without a skilled workforce with a capacity to do everything that's required, so it's very important for any prospective mining operation to know that there is a workforce available to them," Crook said.