Study predicts Australia will lose 40% mining construction jobs

A new study by research company BIS Shrapnel predicts big winners and big losers for the Australian mining industry.

Australia's number one metals and minerals customer China is experiencing a marked economic slowdown and Australian giants like Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and BHP Billiton (LON:BHP) are cutting back on large capex projects and taking a sledgehammer to costs.

The Brisbane Times quotes BIS Shrapnel Infrastructure and mining unit senior manager Adrian Hart as saying Australian mining would "continue to be challenged by lower commodity prices and a high Australian dollar:"

“As such, they are going to extraordinary lengths to cut back on the high costs/low productivity culture which characterised the construction phase of the [mining] boom,” Mr Hart said.

“With respect to the mining boom, it's probably fair to say that this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.”

As a result BIS Shrapnel predicts there will be a 40% decline in construction positions even as overall employment ticks up 11% over the next five years.

Another study released last week by Business Monitor also forecasts moderating growth from the breakneck pace of the previous decade.

Business Monitor predicts the value of Australia's mining sector to reach $181 billion by 2017, growing at an annual average rate of 4.3% over the forecast period.