BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has been speaking in Brisbane on how he sees the future of Australian mining and how mining jobs will be affected. There will still be plenty of activity in the mining sector for years to come, although there is a new focus that is being heralded as a high priority for all mining companies – lowering costs and increasing productivity!
Just like any other business, mining companies strive to be profitable. Profitability means, mining companies can re-invest their profits back into the business, creating new mining projects and expanding existing mine sites to increase capacity output. Increased productivity can mean more opportunities for people looking to get into the mines and be a part of the next phase of the Australian mining success story.
“Yes, there is also a focus on ‘cost cutting’ for a lot of mining companies”, Mr.Kloppers said, however, he also went on to say “There is probably about 100 million tonnes of additional iron ore production coming on next year”.
Other big miners in iron ore mining operations across Australia such as Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group (as well as BHP Billiton) are expected to increase production as a direct result of expansion projects as well as timely investments in automation process and increased development of critical logistical infrastructure to expedite the ‘pit to port’ race to get mined materials onto ships faster.
BHP Billiton has maintained its guidance of a 5% iron-ore production increase from its Western Australian operations in the 2013 financial year, despite highlighting slower economic growth in China. BHP Billiton said in its September quarterly report on Wednesday that it had produced 39.7 million tons of iron-ore in the three-month period.
BHP Billiton estimates as much as 650 million tonnes of new supply will be needed, just to meet demand in the next decade. Despite the current slackening off of the price of iron ore and other resource stocks like metallurgical coal, there is still reason to be positive about the future, although Australian miners need to focus on being amongst the low-cost producers in the world.
Mr.Kloppers also reiterated the need for the Australian Government to review the MRRT and also highlighted the inappropriate targeting of mining companies by States such as Queensland that saw fit to increase mining taxes at a time when the mining an resource sector was battling reduced demand for raw materials, a high Australian dollar, long lead times for government approval of new mining projects and an increasing shortage of experienced mining professionals to fill skills shortage gap. He urged governments to work in partnership with Australian mining companies to recover the competitiveness that would guarantee a new round of capital investment in the Australian mining and resource sector. On average it takes 3.1 years to approve a mining project in Australia compared with 1.8 years in other countries that are competing for mining investment.
“The [mining] industry has got to take costs out and governments have got to help us with the enabling legislation to do so”. Marius Kopper, BHP Billiton chief executive.
Almost 80% of investment in new mining projects goes towards developing the infrastructure like roads, rail, buildings and port facilities (all of which is self-funded by the mining companies), new mining projects create 1000s of construction jobs and create community prosperity in the mining towns adjoining the developments. Mining jobs will continually be sought after as more and more people realise there are still billions of dollars worth of mining and resource projects in the pipeline.
If you’re thinking of getting into mining, now is the perfect time to consider up-skilling yourself to increase your mining job opportunities. There are many types of mining training courses that can prepare you for a well-paid career in the mining and resource sector. Keep up to date with what’s happening in Australian mining by subscribing to iMINCO Mining Project News.
BHP Billiton mining jobs – increased productivity could drive new mining employment opportunities