While mining giants like BHP and Rio Tinto dominate much of the public spotlight in Australia, junior and mid-tier players are the often-silent operators working to sure up the industry’s future success.

First there was the gold rush, then the iron ore boom and now, the battery metals revolution.

As a potential skills shortage in Western Australia threatens to delay the progress of the recovering mining sector, employers are having to find new ways to make working in the industry an attractive prospect.

‘Exploring the unexplored’ may sound like the tagline from an award-winning sci-fi epic, but there is nothing fictional about it in the realm of mining.

The skills shortage in the drilling industry has been caused by a rise in drill rig utilisation levels of about 45 per cent over the last two years.

On December 12, 2015, leaders from 195 countries reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and accelerate the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future.

The impact of recent technological advancement on mining processes and efficiencies is well documented – almost to the point of exhaustion.

 

From the mechanisation of underground coal mining in the 1950s to the recent introduction of autonomous haul trucks, the mining industry has always been a rapidly changing sector, pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology.

If the flurry of recent announcements by Australia’s major iron ore producers is to be believed, and the Australian Securities Exchange’s continuous disclosure requirements would suggest they are, money is beginning to flow back into Western Australia’s Pilbara region. 

Mineral processing has become a hot topic in Australia in recent times, as rapid development in the emergent battery minerals space prompts miners and governments to think more about downstream value in the commodities they mine.