Mining labour shortages looming

Industry encouraged to develop non-traditional sources for skilled workers

A new report from the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) anticipates a serious shortage of skilled workers in Canada’s mining industry.

In the next 10 years, as many as 200,000 positions will need to be filled, MiHR said. The aging mining workforce is creating a loss of industry knowledge, and with the shortage of young people acquiring the necessary skills to fill those positions, meeting future hiring needs will become increasingly difficult.

“The long-term outlook for the mining industry remains strong,” said Ryan Montpellier, executive director for MiHR. “There are $140 billion worth of projects in the permitting and environmental assessment phase. If only a small proportion of these mines come online it will mean a significant increase in the number of people that the mining industry will need, adding to the significant gap that retiring workers will soon create.”

In the next three to five years MiHR estimates 20 per cent of the mining workforce will be eligible to retire — six per cent of workers are eligible now.

In its new report, Canadian Mining Industry Employment, Hiring Requirements and Available Talent Ten Year Outlook, 2013, MiHR encouraged industry leaders to develop non-traditional sources for skilled workers. Underrepresented groups such as immigrants, Aboriginal peoples, youth and women will prove pivotal in solving the labour shortage.

MiHR recommends a long-term “talent attraction strategy” that would coordinate with educators, training institutions and immigration services to grow the labour pool and attract new talent.

In addition to addressing concerns about Canada’s upcoming labour shortage, the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) is currently developing its international efforts with funding from the federal government's Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA).

The $111,625 granted by the GOA will help CIM support initiatives between Canada and West Africa, Latin America and China, as well as contribute to the emerging markets for green mining and the global francophone mining market.

“The GOA program will enable us to better showcase Canadian expertise and solutions and help Canadian business people to understand the growing potential in these emerging economies,” explained Jean Vavrek, executive director for CIM.

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