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Short-term supply and demand of graduate mining engineers in Australia


  • Peter F. Knights

    (The University of Queensland)


This study advances a means for estimating the short-term demand for Australian graduate mining engineers using simple linear correlation with mining “building and structure” capital expenditures. Although only a loose correlation was achieved, the method is comparable with the current methods which either assume employment growth rates or calculate them by applying auto regressive integrated moving averages to time series data. The latter can fail to adequately reflect rapid changes due to commodity price cycles. Using the new model, it is possible to estimate that Australia requires approximately 160 mining engineering graduates per year over the next 3 years. The deficit in mining engineering graduate numbers is likely to be around 60 this year, climbing to 90 in 2021. The Australian mining industry therefor faces a shortfall of graduates. The mining industry will look to attract mining engineers under the Australian government’s skilled immigration program. However, Australian mining companies will essentially be competing with North American mining companies for scarce talent. For large surface mining operations involving bulk earth movement, the industry will look to substitute graduate mining engineers with graduate civil engineers. Because of the shortage of graduate mining engineers in North America, underground metalliferous mines are likely to draw expertise from Latin American and African countries, most notably Peru, South Africa, and Ghana. Underground longwall coal mines are likely to source foreign mining engineering graduates from Turkey, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia. In bulk mining operations, technology is changing some of the planning and operational roles currently conducted by young graduate mining engineers. Some routine planning tasks (for example, drill and blasting planning for strata deposits) are becoming transactional in nature. Remote operating centers are changing operational roles that were traditionally the domain of young graduate mining engineers.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter F. Knights, 2020. "Short-term supply and demand of graduate mining engineers in Australia," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 33(1), pages 245-251, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:33:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s13563-019-00208-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-019-00208-0

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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitry A. Ruban & Vladimir A. Ermolaev & Antonius J. (Tom) van Loon, 2021. "Exploitation of Mineral Resources Requires Proper People: Expectations of the World’s Top Mining Companies," Resources, MDPI, vol. 10(10), pages 1-19, September.
    2. Yıldız, Taşkın Deniz, 2022. "Supervisor fund expectation for the guarantee of salaries in the presence of the effect of permanent supervisor salaries on mining operating costs in Turkey," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    3. Yıldız, Taşkın Deniz, 2023. "Changes in the salaries of mining engineers as they obtain managerial and OHS specialist positions in Turkey: By what criteria can salaries be increased?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).


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