Mine industry faces drill rig operator shortageadmin
A shortage of mining equipment operators threatens to stifle the development of South Australia’s mining industry.
The Australian Drilling Industry Association says a number of new drill rigs have been bought by Australian companies in recent years but there are not enough skilled workers to operate them.
Resources company Oxiana is planning to mine copper and gold at Prominent Hill in the Woomera Prohibited Area, while projects at Coober Pedy and Roxby Downs are also demanding drill rigs.
Association executive officer Simon Fitzgerald says mining-rich states in particular need to think about attracting and retaining a new generation of mining workers.
“For example, I wonder if the education system might put things like first aid certificates, looking after yourself in remote locations, driving a four-wheel drive off road, those sorts of subjects might be able to be delivered at the schools so that the prerequisites would already be gained by the applicant,” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald says more drills have been ordered in recent years but there is a lack of manpower.
“So if we get a rapid boom there will be a shortage of people simply because there just is not enough that we can train up quickly enough given the nature of the practical element they have to have [for the profession],” he said.
He suggests using drillers from Africa and Asia.