Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, or reef, which forms the mineralized package of economic interest to the miner.
Ores recovered by mining include metals, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay. Mining is required to obtain any material that cannot be grown through agricultural processes, or created artificially in a laboratory or factory. Mining in a wider sense includes extraction of any non-renewable resource such as petroleum, natural gas, or even water.
Mining of stones and metal has been a human activity since pre-historic times. Modern mining processes involve prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of a proposed mine, extraction of the desired materials, and final reclamation of the land after the mine is closed.
Mining operations usually create a negative environmental impact, both during the mining activity and after the mine has closed. Hence, most of the world's nations have passed regulations to decrease the impact. Worker safety has long been a concern as well, and modern practices have significantly improved safety in mines.
Of the periodic table’s 118 elements 70 are used when making an iPhone. 40% of the global economy is directly or indirectly dependent of the mining sector. The global mining and energy industry is currently experiencing its biggest boom in 50 years as the demand for resources is driven by the industrialization and urbanization of Asia – and especially China and India. The energy consumption is expected to increase by 70% in the next 20 years. Yet, in spite of the positive market situation, the industry is facing major challenges.
The industry has failed to develop an innovation ecosystem. The last innovative breakthrough in mining took place 20-30 years ago and the current models of scaling up equipment will no longer work in the future. This is because more and more metals can only come from within the earth – some of the goldmines in South Africa are currently three and half kilometer deep and the next will go down to five kilometer. Current equipment cannot be used vertically. In addition, just cooling down the temperature to working conditions in around ten of these gold mines require half of the energy from a nuclear power plant. Another challenge for the mining industry is the negative image it has, much related to conflicts with local communities and environmentalists
Mining has experienced the fastest rate of job growth of all 19 broad industries over the past decade, reflecting strong demand for commodities from Australia’s trading partners. Over the 10 years to May 2014, employment in Mining increased by 166,900, which is equivalent to an annual growth rate of 10.3 per cent. Mining employment almost doubled over the five years to May 2012, rising from 135,500 to 267,900 as the industry responded to historically high mineral prices by expanding output quickly and constructing new capacity. Since May 2012, employment growth has stalled, growing by only 4000, or 1.5 per cent over the 12 months to May 2014 as mineral prices have fallen, construction activity has plateau and operating costs are being scrutinized intensely. Weaker confidence and the deferral of a number of major resource projects have also been caused by slower growth in demand from China and lower commodity prices.
There are limited opportunities at the moment because the state's industry is largely in exploration mode and will need skilled workers for operational mode. "So staff will have to consider going elsewhere, either interstate or overseas, for a couple of years to get operational experience.''
But there still can be opportunities for executives not already in the mining or oil and gas sector if they are willing to work their way into the field.
At NCS we understand that the earth’s most valuable resource is people and we make it our mission to discover and develop the right people for the right job.
We provide recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing to some of the world’s leading oil, gas and mining companies throughout Australia and Asia. We are one of the world’s largest recruitment and talent management companies, yet we still ensure we retain the focus and flexibility of a specialist firm.
Our specialist teams are experts at understanding project and operational talent requirements and at providing flexible solutions to ensure our clients’ success. Whether it’s sourcing hard to find talent or outsourcing recruitment functions, developing an organization’s key individuals or supporting organizations through redeployment, NCS prides itself on providing world class talent solutions.