13 September 2007

Mining companies battling to hire skilled mining workers

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Australia's resources boom continues to provide opportunities for skilled workers with an Australian visa, as the metal, oil and gas sectors compete to hire and retain skilled people. Growing production and significant expansion plans are great for the economy but rely on attracting skilled workers from other parts of Australia and from Australian immigration.

One of the world's largest precious metals producers, Gold Fields, is short of 14 geologists, as well as people with geotechnical and mining survey skills. Neville Bergin, the head of Gold Fields' Australian operations, told Business Report: "There are skills shortages in all professions, with geologists being most acute."

Rio Tinto is facing similar problems while it expands its iron ore mines in Pilbara in Western Australia. AngloGold Ashanti's Sunrise Dam mine is set to produce 600 000 ounces of gold this year and its Boddington mine will produce 850,000 ounces of gold from 2009.

Career prospects are good for Australian visa holders as the skills shortages have led to people being promoted quicker than they were even five years ago.

There are huge gold mines at St Ives (producing about 500,000 ounces a year), Kalgoorlie, (850,000 ounces) and Telfer (800,000 ounces).

In Coolgardie, the town's population has more than doubled from 2,500 in 2001 to 6,000.
Mal Osborne, the municipality's chief executive, said: "There are more employment opportunities [than] ever before."

Australia needs skilled mining workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australia Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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