In late 2019, reports suggested that Western Australia was experiencing a mining boom, with more people being employed in the mining industry than in the few years prior. Naturally, the state does fluctuate with mining employment and activity in the mining sector, and this is sometimes referred to as a boom-bust cycle.
Currently, there are still nearly 100,000 individuals employed in mining in Western Australia, though this is a small decrease from 2019. Arguably, the slightly slower/reduced mining activity suggests that the peak of this boom has now somewhat passed.
This, of course, isn’t the first time there has been a downfall (bust) for Western Australia’s mining sector. In fact, 2013 was the most recent boom prior to the current. That boom lasted around three years before there was a decline (bust) in employment and mining activity in 2016. This bust was ended in 2019 with the aforementioned boom. And now, early 2021, some statistics suggest that Western Australia is now seeing a small decrease in employment in the mining sector.
Even despite the bust periods of the cycle, mining has still always been one of the largest, if not the largest, contributor to Western Australia’s economy. Australia as an entirety is the world’s largest exporter of coal (with around 35% of all international trade coming from Australian soil), so while demand might slow and fasten during some periods, it is unlikely that it will ever stop.
There are several factors that contribute to the beginning of a mining boom, however the most significant factor is a strong increase in demand for coal, iron ore and other ores from overseas countries. In Australia’s case, these countries are most predominantly China and India.
As mentioned earlier, Australia’s mining industry can be described as having a boom-bust cycle (economic expansion and contraction that occurs continually). These cycles are also seen in other areas of the economy and trading, and generally, boom-bust cycles can have more than one contributing factors. Other causes of a boom or bust for mining in Western Australia could be availability of financial capital for both miners and mineral buyers, and future expectations for the industry.
In terms of employment during booms, there are some reasons as to why recent booms do not have the same high numbers of employment as in previous decades. The main reason is the introduction of automation and technology which is reducing the need for some trades and workers.
With our office in Perth and ability to partner with clients across the country, we have been able to provide quality advice and technical support to mining corporations involved in the recent Western Australian mining boom. Several of our large clients are based in Western Australia, and we have successfully provided (and still continue to provide) a wide range of tenement management services to suit their needs. As Western Australia and Queensland are known to be Australia’s most resource-rich states, we service many clients in these regions.
To fully take advantage of any mining boom, mining corporations must follow standard Government enforced procedures and work with a specialty legal agency that can ensure environmental approval, mineral exploration approval and development approval can be obtained as necessary. With quality advice and strategy from a leading tenement management firm, corporations should be able to acquire specific mining licences, exploration licences or prospection licences needed for their proceedings.
In some ways, the mining boom (and its proven upwards, downwards cycle) is relevant to the advice and services we at Hetherington deliver for our clientele. Our expert legal team always stay atop the national trends to ensure we can provide the most accurate and suitable advice considering activity in the sector and our clients’ unique environmental, social and governance objectives.
Our team of industry-leading mining lawyers and environmental consultants offer a comprehensive range of skills relating to tenement management, approvals, and compliance matters. Some of our key services to clients in the mining industry include:
To discover more about our services or learn how to apply for a tenement or renew a tenement in Western Australia with our team of experts, contact our Perth office on (08) 9228 9977. Alternatively, you can visit our website to hear more about our team and contact our Sydney or Brisbane offices.