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Skills crunch looms in Canada’s mining industry

The mining industry in Canada is now facing a shortage of skilled labour, and the severity could be as severe as in was before the economic downturn in 2008, Mining Weekly reports.
Record prices for many commodities, coupled with cheap and more easily available finance, mean that activity in the mining sector is roaring and skilled mining engineers, geologists, technicians and other key people are again hot commodities and companies are having to pay up to get hold of them.

Mining companies train Mongolians for driving jobs

In response to the recent law passed by the Mongolian government limiting the number of foreign workers used in Mongolian mining projects, mining companies have begun training Mongolians for driving positions at local mines, UB Post reports.
41 companies of Umnugobi, Dornogobi provinces took part in research that studied the number of workers needed and salary proposals. These companies employ 1,189 Mongolian and 1,500 Chinese drivers at the moment. However, they reported that with the new law they will need 1500 additional Mongolian drivers. Employers pay 800,000MNT as a salary with potential for employees to earn bonuses.

University of Utah fills new Chair in Mine Safety position

Utah News reports: industrial safety expert Thomas Hethmon has been chosen by the University of Utah to occupy the Western Mining Presidential Endowed Chair in Mine Safety, a new faculty position funded by Barrick Gold of North America and CONSOL Energy.
“The University of Utah is uniquely positioned to influence industrial safety and health management in the U.S. and abroad,” said Hethmon in a prepared statement. “The [U.] College of Mines has an international reputation for academic excellence, a long and positive relationship with the industry, and its administration is completely supportive of our plans for the chair,” says Hethman.

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Locals trained for mining job opportunites in Wilcannia, NSW

Unemployed people in Wilcannia, New South Wales, Australia, will be given the opportunity to train for certification in resource and infrastructure work preparation, ABC News reports. The goal is that employment in the region's new mining projects will follow.
"There's jobs there, and there's going to be lots of jobs in the near future, and fortunately we've got a lot of people interested in that industry. That was one of the main reasons why we picked this type of course to run out there."

Kennecott Minerals opens community education centre in Marquette, Michigan

To answer some of the community's questions about their Eagle Mine project, Kennecott Minerals has opened a new education center in downtown Marquette, Michigan.
Visitors will see models, videos and exhibits relating to the Eagle Mine operations. The goal of the center is to strengthen their relationship with the community and to provide a place where residents can learn about sustainable and responsible mining.

South Australian training facility for mining and trades opens at Thebarton Senior College

The In Business website has announced that a $2.3 million training facility for mining, building and construction, welding, automotive, engineering and carpentry has opened at Thebarton Senior College in Torrensville, South Australia.
The new trade training centre at Thebarton Senior College forms part of the Australian Government’s Trade Training Centres in Schools Program. In the new facility, students will be able to use a wide range of hand and power tools for courses in metal machining, welding and metal fabrication, general construction, mining and infrastructure, general woodwork and furniture making, energy and automotive and electricity and electronics.

New initiatives to invest in skills for Australian resources sector

The Australian federal government has announced a new skills investment fund and a skills migration plan for major projects in the resources sector, the Australian Journal of Mining reports.
[The National Resource Sector Taskforce] predicted the number of jobs in mining and gas operations may grow by 65,000 taking the sector’s direct employment to around 250,000 people by 2015. The WA Council of Minerals and Energy backs this up, predicting the State’s resource industry’s direct workforce will grow 58% by the end of 2012. The Taskforce’s solution to this bourgeoning demand for skill and labour is hardly surprising. It said, in essence: drop some serious cash into vocational training. The Taskforce made 31 recommendations, urging more initiatives and money to provide more skills training.

Canadian mines and training organizations fill skills shortages with local talent

The NWT Mine Training Society, Aurora College and the local mines in the north of Canada are looking to fill positions in a wide variety of fields with local talent. The Up Here Business Magazine reports: Vice-president of operations for Avalon Rare Metals, with a mine near Yellowknife in the pre-construction phase, is estimating his mine alone will need more than 200 workers in a variety of fields. John Kearney, president of Canadian Zinc Corporation, says that the Prairie Creek Mine in Deh Cho will directly employ 340 workers as it hits startup.
Both men would like their needs to be met locally, if possible. But their demands for a sophisticated and high tech workforce have created an urgent need for basic and higher-level education. While the industry can provide some basic skills and in-house, on-the-job training, its need for a more skilled workforce requires collaborations.