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Mining Labour Market Trends


Mining Labour Market TrendsRetirement will be one of the biggest trends for the mining industry in the coming decade. The mining sector will lose a significant number of experienced workers due to retirement. Employers predict that 24.5 percent of current workers will retire within 10 years.

Mining Sector Demographics

Workers in the minerals and metals industry are older than the average Canadian worker. More than 50 percent of workers are between the ages of 40 and 54. As compared to other sectors, there are fewer employees under the age of 30 in the sector, particularly in the skilled trades and semi-skilled mining occupations.

Mining Sector Growth Projected

Since 2002, mining gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been about twice the rate of the Canadian economy and economic indicators point to continued growth and increased exploration activities in the sector for several more years. More than simply replacing retired workers, the industry will need to expand its labour force to meet this demand-driven growth.

Size of the Labour Market

In British Columbia there are:

  • eight metal mines
  • 11 coal mines
  • more than 40 industrial minerals operations
  • more than 1,100 aggregate quarries

In additional to these operations there are:

  • Head and Regional Offices – Upwards of 12 major mining companies that have mining operations in BC and elsewhere have offices in Vancouver and/or interior communities.
  • Junior Mining Companies – Upwards of 700 companies in Greater Vancouver carry out early mineral exploration and development work.
  • Mining suppliers, contractors and consultants – Hundreds of companies supply and service the minerals industry—from bush airlines to steel ball suppliers to environmental engineers to lawyers.

In 2006, the BC mining industry employed 25,000 people—10,000 directly and 15,000 in indirect jobs.


Labour Shortages

Trends in Canada’s total labour force are affecting the supply of workers to the mining industry.

In BC, in addition to the current labour shortages there are 20 mine projects in the BC Environmental Assessment review process that will create an additional 12,000 direct construction and operating jobs.

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