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Canada’s mining industry needs to hire 100,000 people in the next 10 years

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According to the Mining Human Resource Council (MiHR), the Canadian mining sector could face a serious labour shortage if businesses continue to struggle finding new talent to replace an ageing workforce.

Traditional mining recruitment has to change if companies want to attract younger, more diverse workers and avoid a labour crunch in the near future
(Image via Newmont)

Speaking in a discussion group at the CIM Convention 2019 in Montreal, the council said that its baseline scenario predicts a need to hire around 97,000 workers within the next 10 years. If there is an expansionary boom in the commodity space, this will raise to over 135,000.

At the baseline level, there will be 97,450 opportunities opening up in the next 10 years
(Image via MiHR)

With upcoming projects like the Red Chris expansion, Newmont Goldcorp’s Borden project, Agnico Eagle Mines’ Meliadine project and Barrick’s Hemlo mine all scheduled, among other major industry deals opening up more future opportunities, Canada’s mining sector is rapidly growing.

But Ryan Montpellier, executive director of MiHR, highlighted:

“The lack of interest in mining is coming at a time when we are starting to see the industry ramp up,” said Montpellier.

MiHR’s data shows that enrollment in undergraduate mining programs has fallen by nearly 50% from 2015 to 2017. They say that the industry needs to do a better job of reaching out to new workers, while moving to a long-term view of recruitment rather than simply focusing on short-term commodity prices.

"As an industry, I think we are suffering from group think,” said Maryse Belanger, president and CEO of Atlantic Gold.

“It doesn’t help that we don’t have a lot of young creative people in the industry.”

With interest falling, companies need to do more to educate and attract young workers in order to avoid a labour shortage
(Image via MiHR)

Jennifer Wright, senior director at MiHR, sees the data as an opportunity for mining companies to make changes to their recruitment strategy, by recognising these requirements as areas of opportunity for diversifying the mining workforce for better representation of age, gender and minorities.

She went on to highlight the progress that several companies are making in these areas, such as work-integrated learning where students can work with mining companies through co-ops, internships and other projects to gain career experience and a better understanding of the requirements of the industry.

MiHR also provide local companies with a wage subsidy of $5,000 or 50% of wages for second year students, and $7000 or 70% of wages for under-represented students such as women, immigrants and indigenous people.

With incentives in place and a massive growth in job availability, the near future is likely to see more and better opportunities than ever within the Canadian mining industry.

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