Mine students fear prospects
Mining students are facing fears of stifled job prospects with the potential gold royalty rate increase looming.
The State Government last month announced plans to raise the royalty from 2.5 to 3.75 per cent for miners producing 2500 ounces of gold a year when gold is worth at least $1200 an ounce.
The increase has instilled fear in students as job prospects have gone from 80 per cent success rates at the start of their degrees to just 10 to 15 per cent, according to graduates.
Anis McGowan, a 21-year-oldJU student at the Western Australian School of Mines, said uncertainty about the future of the industry would impact university enrolment numbers and opportunities available.
“WASM is already a relatively small school with 250 students and the prospect of there being fewer jobs in the industry will scare even more students away,” she said.
“Initiatives such as the Wombats Student Mining Games rely on local gold companies’ support through sponsorship.
“If mining companies are paying higher costs, then we may struggle to get funding.”
Newcrest spokesman Ian Kemish echoed the fears, saying gold miners across WA would struggle to boost their intake of graduates if the gold royalty rate went ahead.
“As an industry, we are very proud of the contribution we make to the WA economy and the local job market,” he said. “But we can’t continue to create new jobs and drive our local economy if we are hit with such a dramatic increase.”
Curtin University graduate Lara Napier managed to secure a meta-llurgy position with Newcrest Mining at the Telfer mine, but said many of her peers were not so lucky when it came to finding employment.
“When I first started my degree, I was told at least 80 per cent of graduates in my field will get a job,’ she said.
“When I was in my final year, I was told the likelihood of getting a job had dropped to between 10 and 15 per cent.”
The concerns come after The Chamber of Minerals and Energy released information suggesting the hike would have a “devastating impact”, costing jobs of more than 10 per cent of the 25,000 workforce.
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