On the radar this week, Queensland mining jobs, the next coal mining wave.
After three years of searching for suitable thermal coal asset overseas, Coal India (CIL) will meet this week to decide on future coal mining investments in Australia.
The Indian miner has entered into talks and non-disclosure agreements with two major Australian coal companies over an undisclosed number of thermal coal assets in Australia.
India has been in the news recently owing to their shortfall in domestic coal supplies. It was estimated the Indian domestic and commercial coal market has a shortfall of some 55 million tonnes per year. Although India has committed to a small array of nuclear power stations, it’s main power and utilities industry relies on thermal coal fired power stations.
Sources in Australia indicate that the Indian mining company was negotiating with a large British-American mining company to acquire a partly explored asset in the Surat basin in Queensland.
The indication at this stage is the coal mining asset may cost as much as a billion dollars to develop. Owing to the high risk involved in these types of negotiations, Coal India is setting its sights on low-value unexplored or partly-explored coal deposits.
India’s coal shortage could be Queensland’s gain
A recent article highlighted Indian power companies are not happy about the quality of their locally sourced Run of Mine (ROM) coal as well as its thermal coking coal. This is a big problem for Indian and if we look closely, we can clearly see a picture emerging that is pointing the way to possible increased investment in Australian mining companies who specialise in mining and exportation high quality thermal coal.
Earlier last month, the Indian government faced increased opposition from local Indian coal producers, including Coal India Limited (CIL), claiming mining companies would have to take a loss on their books if higher-priced imported coal was to be averaged with domestic production. Turbulence in the Indian coal supply business indicates another possible investment in Queensland coal mining deposits could be around the corner.
Poor Indian coal quality ignites interest in Queensland thermal coal deposits
Further issues between Coal India, which accounts for over 80% of domestic supplies, and NTPC Limited, the country’s largest thermal power generator are hitting the headlines. NTPC held back payment of $178-million owed to Coal India claiming the coal supplied did not meet the requirements as per their agreement.
Australian mining companies can view these issues in India as an opportunity to further develop the relationships with Indian coal importers and Indian government.
The Indian government clearly sees Australia’s coal industry as a saving grace, with the abundance of coal deposits and close proximity to India, Queensland coal mines are a natural choice. Adani’s Caremichael mine development in the Galilee basin is considered the largest single coal tenement in the world, with over 10 billion tonnes waiting to be dug out of the ground.
1000’s of new Queensland mining jobs a possibility
Mining projects such as the Adani Caremichael mine create the opportunity for 1000’s of new Queensland mining jobs in the future.
Adani has already applied to the Australian government for an environmental assessment of a proposed 300km rail line (with a capacity to carry 100 million tonnes) from the Queensland Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal; as it forges forward to develop the Carmichael coal mine. Not only has Adani got a firm foot in the door in Australia, GVK is another Indian company preparing to develop a huge coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
GVK has acquired 79% equity stake each in Alpha Coal and Alpha West Coal Mines and 100% equity stake in Kevin`s Corner Coal Mines.
These mines have large coal reserves of about 8 billion tonnes and a capacity to extract and export over 80 million tonnes per year direct to India. This will be achieved using the latest open-cut mining technology, combined with a 500 km rail link as part of its ‘pit-to-port’ logistics solution.
Other coal mining companies are vying to be part of the Adani led project; and include Endcoal, Whitehaven Coal, Yancoal, QC Resource Investments and Linc Energy.
Mining jobs radar
Coal mining jobs are highly sought after; so how are you going to prepare yourself for the next wave? There are a number of ways you can go about preparing for a job in the mines.
Mining companies look for highly trained, skilled and qualified people who can commit to a long term career in mining.
- Mining companies will preference skilled and highly trained people who are also knowledgeable in the latest safety and OHS practices.
- Having completed a self-funded Mining Induction and OHS safety training course is a per-requisite before you will be accepted on a coal mining site in Queensland. This is a Queensland government initiative. You may also be required to undergo a site-specific mining induction.
- The more RII (Resource and Infrastructure Industries) units of competency you have completed such as Enter & Work in Confined Spaces and Work Safely at Heights, will work in your favour when applying for jobs in the mines.
The RII qualifications cover Civil Construction, Extractive Industries, Metalliferous Mining, the Drilling Industry and the Coal Mining Industry.
- Personal safety and fitness is important in the mines, courses than teach you how to correctly handle heavy pieces of equipment can show your future employer, you are aware of the risks and have educated yourself in avoiding these types if injuries.
- Injuries do occur in the industry. Being qualified to administer first aid on the scene of an injury or minor accident is also a highly regarded by mining company management and team leaders.
- Being aware of how an underground mining operation works and how to deal with incidents is essential. Having the knowledge to escape from hazardous situations will be beneficial if you want to be flexible in the type of work you want to do in the industry.
- Your ability to work well in teams will be advantageous. Mining is a collective environment where teamwork is essential for the smooth operation of a mine and creates a safety-aware culture where everyone watches each others back.
- Preparing for a FIFO lifestyle well ahead of landing a job in the mines is something you should be considering.
- If you can commit to to the growth of the company by showing initiative, being proactive and self-motivated, this is a valued personal trait.
- Multi-skilled heavy machinery operators who can operate dump trucks, front-end loaders and excavators will be in demand. Civil construction machinery operators can transfer their previous experience to the mining and extractive industry by completing various training courses called Black Coal Competencies and are a relatively quick way to be job-ready in the industry.
- Existing mine workers can prepare to take on supervisory roles by completing accredited supervisor training course (online and in a classroom) and get the right qualifications to be skilled in risk management and personnel management.
- Occupational Health and Safety is at the core of all mining operations, up-skill and step into one of these highly sought after roles.
- Training and assessing new and existing workers is a primary function of a successful mining operation, course are available to help you step into one of these rewarding jobs.
Reference: Queensland Mining Jobs