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Back to basics: resourcing the mining industry


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Author N Plint, J Cilliers, S Dunbar and S Harrison


‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain to 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy). Philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

The minerals industry requires specific technical expertise in mining and mineral process engineering, geoscience, environmental science and social sciences to maintain and operate its current business and to develop future projects.

A steady supply of new graduates is essential to replace not only retirees, but also those who left the industry during the recent downturn. The supply of trained graduates is however not instantaneous, and there is a four-year lag from entry into university to graduation. It is essential that this lag in human resource supply and a likely shortage of knowledgeable, qualified talent is taken into account when considering risks to the business of mining. The shortage of skilled professionals has in the past resulted in unsustainable salary expectations and is likely to pose financial and execution risk to new projects.

This paper will review some recent statistics of students in training from around the world and explore what action is required to not only sustain the training courses that provide future ready talent to the mining industry, but also ensure that graduates from these courses are equipped to create change and be leaders in the industry.

The future prosperity of the industry is dependent on delivering sustainable stakeholder returns through the cycle. This will be achieved by developing capable individuals that can respond to the complex, adaptive challenges facing the industry.

*This is an abstract only. No full paper was prepared for this abstract.*


Plint, N, Cilliers, J, Dunbar, S and Harrison, S, 2018. Back to basics: resourcing the mining industry, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2018, pp 33–34 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).