Older workforce & women needed in mining - iMINCO Mining Training Information

Older workforce & women needed in mining

A workforce dominated by soft, satisfied idealists is ”pissing away” Australia’s position of economic strength and taking the nation backwards, according to the head of a Chinese-controlled mining company with multiple projects in Australia.

Andrew Michelmore, the head of MMG, which has headquarters in Melbourne but is dominated by China, said Australia was suffering from ”rich country’s disease” and would devolve into a welfare state unless workers rediscovered a hunger for excellence.

Addressing the Australian-British Chamber of Commerce, Mr Michelmore, the former head of Western Mining Corporation, lamented the immobility of the Australian workforce and the resulting skills shortage in remote areas like Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

”People can’t be bothered moving 25 kilometres to get a job because they will live off social welfare instead, and it’s a real worry for me watching Australia have a luxurious time at the benefit of our relationship with China,” he said.

More older people and women should be returned to a workforce which was dominated by people with ”airy fairy”, ”idealistic” and ”altruistic” attitudes.

”We need to get the grey hairs back into industry and working, we need to get more women involved in work,” he said. ”We need to get some hunger and drive back into this country, we are becoming soft.”

Frustrating lack of mining workers

A lack of workers has long frustrated the resources sector as it tries to develop billions of dollars worth of projects over the next decade.

MMG has its headquarters and three mines in Australia, one each in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s national president, Tony Maher, rejected Mr Michelmore’s comments. He said they were ”a trojan horse for a Chinese labour debate”.



  1. Neil Parry September 1, 2011 Reply

    Just like all the other comments I to am frustrated that I can’t find a way into the mining industry after trying for the last 2.5 years. I’m 52 and worked as a bricklayer since I was 14, I’m not afraid of hard work or long hours and am more than willing to relocate but just need one of these companies to give me a go to aquire the necessary skills, how else to you gain experience unless someone gives you a go.

    • Pete - iMINCO September 1, 2011

      Hi Neil,
      Thats great that your not afraid of hard work and long hours. It may just be a matter of getting yourself in front of the right company. Check out the resume tips to ensure your resume is mining specific. There is an increasing number of jobs that will be available so hopefully its just a matter of time for you.
      Pete – iMINCO
      RE. Mining Jobs

  2. chris p August 30, 2011 Reply

    does anyone know of any way to inform the government or companies that there are people that really want / need employment in this industry that dont have experience but can be part of the solution to their problem?
    The numbers flying around for workers needed in the future sound silly and whats going to happen if another construction boom happens within the next 3 -5-10 years and the tradies and skilled workers want to work closer to home again.
    looks like a lack of foresight by the industry

  3. Paul Glock August 25, 2011 Reply

    I agree with all comments above. I would gladly go to a job in the Pilbara or anywhere else in WA, Qld or NSW to work in the mines. I am 50 and have my HR/HC + Driver’s Authorisation. i have experience – LIFE.

    FIFO would great initially and then I would strongly consider relocation if need be.

    Very frustrating when I read articles such as this.

  4. Ricky J August 24, 2011 Reply

    Im not old but im not young either, Im kean as to start a career in mining. Ive been applying for the last year but havent even been looked at. I havent got any experience but would love the opportunity to start an apprentichip or entry level job with career prgression.
    Unfortunatley I can only work in Qld DIDO from Townsvile or FIFO.

  5. Rebecca heaton August 23, 2011 Reply

    Heard these news reports before and there is no jobs unless you live in the area and have experience. Alot of my mates have been trying for years and have many tickets and all stuck in civil construction hoping one day for that phone call. If there is any mining company’s out there seeking a couple of female moxy operators?

  6. Jesse James August 23, 2011 Reply

    Hi, im 37yrs old , have 3 trades and have worked ever since I was 16. I’ve completed a generics course and have been trying to break into the mining industry, but sadly without any luck. Im eager & willing to start IMMEDIATELY, but all these jobs require ‘experience only’….. How do I get experience if no-ones willing to take me on?

  7. John H August 23, 2011 Reply

    I am a 40 year old male trying to get into the mines i have done courses to get relevent tickets and still dont seem to get a break. you can do all these courses but they want 2-5 years experience.how can you gain this experience if the mines dont want to give you a go or further training in the feild. i think its the mines fault that they have a shortage of workers they dont want to give a bloke or chick a chance.

  8. Brett H August 23, 2011 Reply

    Grew up in the Hunter Valley region and the ol man was a miner. I would love this chance so as to show my kids a future as well. Many skills over the yrs to use but the chances of getting work in one is too hard and too costly. I too would move anywhere for a job and my swag is packed ready to go

  9. Louise August 23, 2011 Reply

    As a strong 38 year old woman who is willing to learn from scrath, I would gladly work in the Mining industry but every job advertised seeks employees with experience. So what am I to do to get inn. If employers are willing to train I’m in.

  10. James August 23, 2011 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more with the above comments im single and in my early fourties and would start work with a 7/7 or 14/13 roster in an open cut mine tommorrow driving a dump truck infact id pay my own fares to Perth to connect with FIFO charters to the Pilbara.
    I have many relevant skills and a sound understanding in OH&S but most adverts say you must have at least 12months experience driving a dump truck well if anyone can loan me one on weekends i’m willing to learn but is that airy fairy?
    Perhaps in an IDEAL world and me being an IDEALIST id hope mining companies who have worker shortages would be willing to take people on like me and others and train us wouldn’t this be a win win situation?

  11. Karin S August 22, 2011 Reply

    I don’t believe the sentiment of Mr Michelmore that Aussies won’t move 25km to get a job, although I am in agreeance that ANY industry would benefit greatly from employing older workers who have been shown to be more stable and responsible. What an under utilised resource older Aussie workers are.
    As a 40 something woman, I would greatly relish the challenge to learn some new skills and will gladly pack up and go to anywhere in this fabulous country of ours. Alas, companies seem happy to train our younger counterparts without experience but not so anyone over 35.

  12. Luke August 22, 2011 Reply

    Same story as these guys, mid 30’s qualified mechanic (light vehicle), HR truck licence, GI passport, workplace L2 first aid, working at heights certificate, white card & willing to travel to ANY location


  13. Peter Meek August 22, 2011 Reply

    I am 45 and also looking for a career change . I have extensive skills learned in the building industry, as well as skills learnt from working alongside other trades. As others have stated all job adverts ask for experience. how are we to gain experience?

  14. Brettmac August 22, 2011 Reply

    I too am in a position where I now have certificates, but coming from a Sales Management background have no mining experience. I drive buses,but these are not viewed as experience for dump trucks,water trucks or any other “driving” type positions. Hopefully the people who have real work ethics will be given a go

  15. chris p August 22, 2011 Reply

    How much are companies losing by not employing inexperienced people willing to give the rest of their working careers to them?

  16. Chris Cameron August 19, 2011 Reply

    Sirs, I read with great frustration stories like this, lamenting the lack of mining industry workers. I am a highly skilled, adaptable, responsible older person looking to find a mining industry position, have been looking for almost a year now… Met with nothing but closed doors. I have many useful skills, much to offer, but cannot find an opening at all….. Any suggestions?

    • Lisa August 23, 2011

      Try seek.com.au I know there are alot of jobs advertised on there for bowen basin

  17. Danny August 19, 2011 Reply

    I am 44 and looking for a career change and would like to talk to some one regarding a job in the mining industry.

    Danny ursem

  18. Trevor Pollock August 19, 2011 Reply

    I am more than willing to work in the Pilbara region,even though I live in Victoria.
    I also have several other people in the area considering work in the WA region.

  19. Greg Schnell August 19, 2011 Reply

    I refer to the comments about getting the grey hairs into the mining industry as well as a shortage of employees in that sector..

    As a mid 50’s male, I would gladly work in the Mining industry.
    However every job advert seeks employees WITH EXPERIENCE.

    If Employers were prepared to train older Aussies like me , I would gladly work in the Industry.

    Its a catch 22 situation.

    Greg S

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