World

Climate unease leaves Aussie mines scrambling for staff

AUSTRALIA’S world-beating mining firms are flush with cash and desperate for staff but green-minded workers are shunning the high-paying sector, causing serious staff shortages, the government warned on Oct 12. 

Australia’s Resources Minister Madeleine King — who oversees the more than US$200 billion (RM936 billion)-a-year industry — said the mining sector was “stretched” and badly needs to reform and shake its sooty image. 

“There is a major problem in attracting and retaining skilled workers,” she told business people in mineral-rich Western Australia. 

“A big barrier to attracting these workers is the attitude many young Australians hold towards the resources industry.” 

Despite miners paying far more than comparable sectors, King said enrolments in relevant degrees were “dwindling”. 

She urged the likes of Rio Tinto Group and BHP Group Ltd to “get more creative” in attracting young people, suggesting the industry turn “Minecraft-crazed kids” into the real-life miners of tomorrow. 

A failure to attract new talent could risk an industry that, she said, “underpins our enviable standard of living”. 

Heaving iron ore, coal and other mineral goodies out of the Earth’s lithosphere have been the mainstay of Australia’s economy for decades, helping to avoid numerous crises and recessions. 

The country is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore — the main component in steel — and ships out vast amounts of coal, gas, lithium, gold, zinc, diamonds and other resources. 

But this year, the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association warned the sector needed an extra 24,000 new workers over the next five years. 

It recently described the lack of plant engineers, geologists, drillers, earthmover operators and other staff as “crippling”. 

But critics say the industry needs more makeover. 

Mining firms have been at the centre of a string of scandals over vast amounts of Earth-warming emissions, allegations of rampant sexual harassment and the recent blowing up of a series of 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelters. 

King said sceptics should be reminded that mining was essential for developing green technologies. 

“Without the resources sector, there is no net zero,” she said. — AFP 


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition
Dzul

Recent Posts

Land clearing in Selangor State Park done for ECRL project – Exco

THE Selangor Forestry Department (JPNS) has found that the alleged land-clearing activities in the Selangor…

5 mins ago

Penang latest state affected by floods

PENANG is the latest state to be affected by floods, with two relief centres (PPS)…

1 hour ago

AIROD and Indonesian partner eye potential US $300m MRO business

AIROD Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) group, is eyeing potential…

1 hour ago

Ringgit likely to trade at 4.25 level next week on back of China’s economic rebound

THE ringgit is likely to trade at the 4.25 level against the US dollar next…

2 hours ago

Bursa Malaysia likely to be muted next week as sentiment remains soft

BURSA Malaysia is expected to be muted in the upcoming holiday-shortened trading week as investor…

2 hours ago

Smog blankets Bangkok and 42 provinces as air pollution hit unhealthy level

BANGKOK -- Smog blankets Bangkok and 42 provinces in Thailand as PM2.5 particles had exceeded the…

15 hours ago