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Trade Weighted Index
Source: ABS/EMDA Model 2010
Australia's mining juggernaut is springing back to life. Already jobs are growing again (+1.6% in the February quarter). There are
a number of very large projects underway or planned. There is the massive Gorgon gas project on the North-West Shelf. This
project is estimated to be worth $43 billion and that by itself is as big as the 1980s resources boom and double the size of the
1850s Victorian gold rush. There is also another $113 billion involving 74 projects under construction or committed -- that is 40%
more than reported six months earlier.
The extent of the improvement in this sector can be measured by some of the price increases negotiated. BHP Billiton, for
example, has won a 55% price increase from Japanese steel makers. Iron ore prices are also expected to rise, with some analysts
predicting 60% price increases in 2010 as demand from steel makers lifts.
Although jobs have fallen very recently in WA in this sector, the number of jobs is still double what it was in 2000 and with the
number of mining projects underway and planned this is expected to grow again. In fact, skill shortages are already starting
to emerge, especially in that State. Although jobs have fallen in SA, this has been mainly in the part time sub-sector and if the
massive proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam goes ahead, then this is expected to create thousands of jobs in SA, boosting
that sector. Jobs are growing again in Queensland as the coal sector springs back to life. NSW is steady but this is after very
strong growth over four to five years as a number of mines expand. Victoria has a small Mining Sector, but still employs 11,250
people and this has been growing strongly.
Confidence in the Mining Sector has well and truly turned around, with confidence lifting from -42.9 in December 08 to +28.8 by
December 09. The reading in December 08 was the lowest recorded by far, highlighting the depth of concern about the impact of
the GFC. With confidence rising and the mineral prices rising, jobs are forecast to grow again in this sector. By November 10, jobs
are expected to be rising by 0.8% and this industry once again will be faced with skills shortages.
Australia has a huge pipeline of mineral expansion to come
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