'The mining boom is bust': Caldwell

The international resource sector faces rough waters ahead according to an industry insider who has just completed a round-the-world tour of key mining regions.

Jack Caldwell writes on his blog that a close colleague has just completed a global sojourn spent visiting mines and meeting with industry executives and consultants. The chief conclusion drawn from his travels? That the "mining boom is bust."

According to Caldwell's informant consultants are now light on work, with many already commencing retrenchments and rumors doing the rounds in Vancouver that a major international company is on the verge of unveiling fresh layoffs.

The short-term outlook is bleak, with 2013 mining budgets expected to see severe cuts. Operating costs continue to rise, trimming dividends and unsettling shareholders. According to one executive the problems the industry currently confronts are "tough and unforgiving."

Yet there remains a silver lining to the tenebrous storm, with a vast amount of potential demand in developing economies still waiting to be unleashed. Demand should pick up once emerging nations start to catch up to developed economies and their indigent millions pursue an improved quality of life, the way that China has over the past few decades.

According to Caldwell, "there is still great demand for specialists, the skilled, the experienced, and those who can produce much fast and at low cost."

The mining veteran advises those now entering the industry and cultivating their skill set to stick it out, as well as "take the tough jobs with fast experience returns, go where the work is rather than stay at home, and work more than 40 hours a week."

Read Jack Caldwell's blog>>