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Bright Outlook for Mining Jobs in Western Australia

western-australia-mining-jobsThousands of mine workers are ferried by charter flights to and from the Western Australian Valley of the Kings mine site. Workers who come here for mining jobs enjoy resort-like accommodation that offers Swimming, gourmet food, gymnasiums and cheap alcohol.

The spending crunch that is afflicting some of the other commodities seems not to have any effect on the Iron ore mining in Australia. In the Western Australia Pilbara desert known for its rich iron ore deposits, Fortescue Metals, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are still bulking up as though the boom never ended. To date, capital expenditure in this area is measured in billions.

The Landscape

The mine workers are quickly transforming this huge area into rust red mine pits that are connected through railway lines that extend thousands of kilometers to big iron ore ports at the edge of the Ocean.

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Fortescue chief executive officer was recently quoted as saying “We always sell everything we mine, so we don’t know what all the discussion on the end of the boom is about”. Mining jobs are continuously on the rise because there is always a lot to do in this area. Alluding to the underground riches, the Valley of the Kings was named after the area where Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt was unearthed.

To reach iron ore, you only need to shovel up and load to the rail cars since the commodity lies just below the surface.

Because of the number of trains that operate daily from the mines, many cows are killed while crossing the tracks and so today the producers have to pay annual fees to farmers as compensation.

BARBECUE PITS

Mine export targets are moving so fast, that it has become almost impossible to actually keep up. The country revised up the export estimate for the year 2013-14 from 615 million tones three months ago to 650 million tones.

The prices of iron ore have gone up from below $87/t, to about $134/t between September 2012 and the beginning of 2014. This is mostly due to the demand of the product by China.

Fortescue and many other iron ore firms still advertise new mining jobs and spend lavishly on mining hubs.  By evening, most Fortescue employees change to T-shirts and shorts and head for dinner in any of the two cafeterias or barbecue pits available. Others spend their evenings swimming in the pool, watching cable TV, Surfing the internet in an air conditioned suite or working out in a gym. In other more populated coal mine areas of Australia, mining jobs are more available but workers normally have to get their own accommodation and they sometimes need to use shared rooms.

In Pilbara, mining shifts run for ten days and workers get six off days. Most FIFO workers fly to their various homes in other cities in Australian and others go to Bali, which is a resort island in Indonesia that is near enough.

UBS, Goldman Sachs and others had warned of the tumble of iron ore in the third quarter to a low $70/t, but this has proved to be unfounded. Iron ore in fact ended the quarter with a 12% increase.

It is a fact that even with the gas and oil business, all of last year’s BHP earnings before tax and interest would have dropped to $10 billion. With Iron ore, the reported earnings for last year were $21.1 billion.

Rio Tinto is known as the biggest aluminum producer in the world and is also among the top five copper miners and producer of many other products. Last year Rio Tinto derived most of its earnings from iron ore.

It is a fact that the mining industry and more so iron ore mining, continues to create mining jobs all over Western Australia and other areas in the country. There has been a big improvement in working conditions in with a lot of emphasis on safety. Before being allowed to work in a mining environment, employees may nowadays have to undertake training in safety. This is because of the challenging conditions that go with most mining jobs as well as the long shifts. Even though the industry is largely focused in Western Australia and Queensland states, there are other regions and mine sites in each state in Australia including the Northern Territory.

 

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