Nearly 17,000 Australian mining jobs to disappear by 2019

Employment in Australia's mining industry is expected  to decline by  4.5% through 2018, with more than 16,000 jobs to be lost across exploration, metal ore and coal mining.

A new study by the Australian Department of Employment forecasts a “significant slowdown’’ compared with the 106,700 jobs created in the sector over the previous five years which constituted a near doubling of mining openings.

Some 6,200 jobs could be lost in metal ore mining, 5,400 positions in exploration and 5,100 jobs could go at the country's coal mines over the next five years.

Employment in construction material mining is however projected to increase by 300 during this time.

"Since May 2012, employment growth has stalled, growing by only 4000, or 1.5 per cent over the 12 months to May 2014 as mineral prices have fallen, construction activity has plateaued and operating costs are being scrutinised intensely," according to the report.

The trend is already visible in Western Australia where employment has fallen by 13,300 and by 7,300 in New South Wales since 2012.

Australia's 267 700 workers in the sector equates to 2.3% of the country's total workforce. Coal mining employs 57,800 people, iron ore miners total just over 30,000 while mining services employ 34,100 staff.

According to the report, ­median weekly earnings of full-time employees in the sector in 2013 were higher than for any other ­industry — $2,071 compared with $1,152 across all industries.

Image source: State Library of South Australia