Mining Trends to Watch for in 2019

Mining Trends

The Mining industry is recovering from a difficult couple of decades. Since October 2016, mining has been steadily growing in both production and job creation. While there are many factors that affect this volatile industry, here are a few mining trends to watch for in the second half of 2019.

Access to resources

As mining companies continue to extract mineral resources, we are seeing once fruitful areas begin to become exhausted. To accommodate, mining organizations have two options:

  • Use new technologies for further extraction and processing
  • Open new extraction and processing locations in areas that were once not economically viable

New technologies will also help make mining processes more efficient and economical. Organizations will be able to save time and money during processing, all while reducing waste. As a result, new plants or mines will open up, which will generate new jobs for years to come.

Transforming the workforce

In 2018, employment in the mining industry increased by an average of 5,000 jobs per month. And in the first half of 2019, average monthly job gains are over 1,000 jobs. This is great news! The mining industry as a whole has left it’s pre-2016 slump and has been steadily growing. However, the labor force as a whole is aging as Baby Boomers near retirement.

In fact, by 2022 more than one-quarter of the U.S. labor force will be in the 55-plus age category. To put it in perspective, the percentage of Baby Boomers who are now retired has doubled since 2010. In the mining sector, 27 percent of the workforce will be over the age of 55 in 2022. This is especially troubling because the mining sector is the fifth fastest growing industry sector with a growth rate of 1.4 percent over the next 5 years. To compensate for the aging workforce, mining organizations will have to find creative ways to attract younger talent.

There’s a skills gap

With a rapidly growing industry and a workforce that is aging, employers are having troubles finding and retaining skilled workers in the mining sector. There are 1.63 million more jobs than available workers to fill them, and the mining industry is feeling the effects of this challenge for employers. As the mining industry continues to digitize, employers have to find ways to attract younger talent and train current employees on new processes and technologies.

Mining is becoming more and more automated, and mining employers are going to have to make workplace adjustments. A great example of this is Rio Tinto, who recently announced a $2 million vocational education and training initiative to address their skills gap. Programs like this will help ensure the next generation of workers is prepared to make an impact in the mining sector.

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