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For those involved in the mining sector it is not news to hear that the mining industry has been in a bad state for some time worldwide, which has resulted in drastic job cuts all over the world, with few if any countries having escaped being affected by the slump. Australia has been badly hit, with mine closures having devastated parts of Australia. All sectors of mining have been affected, but there are other industries also suffering in Australia including the auto manufacturing industry. According to the official Australian Bureau of Statistics data the national unemployment rate in Australia jumped from 5.8 percent to 6 percent in June. Even though this does not sound like a huge amount, one needs to keep in mind the impact this has had on the mining industry and its associated industries. Also that although the mining industry only employs a fraction of the Australian workforce, around 2 percent, it directly employs another approximately 8 percent, through related industries such as construction, transport and engineering sectors.

There are reports that up to ten thousand coal mining jobs alone having been lost in the last two years in Australia. This is despite a global need for coal used in steel and power generation. it is however not all gloom and doom and there are reports that there is a new mine being approved in Queensland, which if it goes ahead will be the largest in Australia. Long term it seems that things will improve for coal miners in Australia as according to an article by ABC news in May, despite the current slump, the forecast long term is strong, and according to the Bureau of Resource Energy Economics Australia’s exports will be worth $225 billion in the next few years. There have also been some very large proposed mines recently approved in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. So all is not doom and gloom, and for those in coal mining who have lost their jobs in recent times, it seems that things may start to improve. However things are not good overall for miners in Australia and there are still massive job cuts going on across the mining sector.

For those affected by these job losses, life can be extremely hard. The majority of these people have families to support and just cannot afford to be out of work. Australia is also a notoriously expensive country to live in. Unemployment and the financial implications that go along with, it can be devastating for those affected and their families. Apart from the financial implications, there is often a tremendous psychological impact on those affected by layoffs. One can experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness, even for those involved in a major layoff in which many co-workers also lose their jobs. The vast majority of those involved in layoffs will experience anxiety, depression, stress and despair after losing their jobs. This is particularly evident now as because of the state of the industry those who have lost their jobs have fewer prospects of getting work at present, even in non-mining sectors in the economy.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones, try not to let the time you spend out of work be a total waste of time. Whilst out of work and job hunting, where you have time on your hands, this time can give you the perfect opportunity to reskill, and to get new industry related training that may help secure a new job when the job market starts opening up again. Times are tough, and there is a lot of competition out there, so it’s imperative to be as skilled as possible and to have the right training required for potential jobs. It also gives one time to ensure that your resume is the best it can be to ensure that it will attract the right employers. For this reason spend some time on your resume. Also ensure that you do some career networking, try to make as many new contacts in the mining sector as possible, a large proportion of new jobs are filled through word of mouth and contacts. For this reason if you are out of a job, try to use the time you have productively, to ensure that when things do pick up again, that you are going to give yourself the best chance possible of finding a new job.

Tough as it is, it very important for people to realise that in today’s mining climate, that layoffs are not based on your value, but rather on the company’s financial situation. Also to remember that mining is cyclical and that it will eventually turn.

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2 Responses to “Life for those who have fallen victim to the mining crisis in Australia”

  1. Bruce McCarthy

    Great article, unfortunately because of the way mining project true viability is allowed to assessed without considering the holistic whole of life cycle costs the boom bust cycles will continue. Mining feasibility studies are all fundamentally flawed and as a result will always fail before the site gets anywhere near proper closure outcomes and will crash causing mass layoffs. Investors seemingly don’t have a clue or understand and make money in the first five years then pull out.


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