LISTEN: Industry twice as large as mining sector to boom
THE epicentre for Mackay's next jobs boom is likely to be felt more strongly in Paget than the Bowen Basin.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said a wave of junior players entering the mining sector could lead to employment growth across mining equipment, technology and services (METS) industries.
At about 30-40,000 across Queensland, the number of direct employment in the METS sector was already more than double the number employed on mine sites, he said. But the low overheads these smaller companies looked for could make outsourcing expertise even more common.
LISTEN: Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche explains why the arrival of smaller mining companies to the Bowen Basin could lead to more jobs in the mining equipment, technology and services sector.
Take Isaac Plains for example, opened this week by Stanmore Coal.
Stanmore employed Golding Contractors who then employed further subcontractors in order to bring together all the skill sets required.
"Large companies would use other service providers but their model has traditionally been to do it all themselves," Mr Roche said.
"Whereas what you're seeing with these new players, is that what suits them is to bring in the existing experts rather than employ the experts directly.
"That's more likely to be the model for the smaller, boutique miners."
A push towards exporting skills to countries like India and Chile would also provide opportunity for the METS sector. Mr Roche said the State and Federal governments had invested $20 million in coming up with a plan to make Australia's METS sector the most competitive in the world. But despite the drive to get work overseas, he was confident the companies would remain based in Australia.
"Where would you rather live? You can be sure, as soon as they can they're back on the plane to Queensland and that's where the headquarters remain," he said.
And rather than fearing the "inevitable" introduction of autonomous vehicles to the east coast, Mr Roche said the workforce should anticipate a change from on-site jobs to METS.
"The (jobs) are just tucked away in air-conditioned control sectors rather than on the mine site," he said.
The big picture
According to the Queensland Resources Council in the 2014-2015 financial year, resources contributed:
23,963: Total direct and indirect employees across Mackay
36: Percentage of Mackay's total employment
4.6: Billion contribution to Mackay's gross regional product.
3880: Direct mine employees across Queensland.
2.1: Billion in royalties paid across Queensland.
0.1: Percentage of Queensland's land mass impacted.