Labor shortage poses the biggest threat to Canada’s mining industry. As it stands more than half of the current workforce is made up of people who are 45 years and older. The fact that almost a third of the workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next few years calls for immediate action.
Mining Talent Shortage
Amidst the retirement fiasco, talent shortage could plummet the industry to further chaos. Enrollment in fields of mining in many universities appears to be on the decline. Between 2015 and 2016, engineering programs in the country experienced a 12% drop in enrollment.
One of the reasons why people are increasingly shunning engineering courses has to do with the high costs of education. The lack of scholarships has also forced most people to shun degrees relating to mining.
Image and reputation of the mining industry in the wake of environmental concerns have also contributed to young students opting for other fields of study. Challenging working conditions in dusty minefields also continues to divert student’s interest and attention to other fields with exciting working conditions.
The boom and bust nature of the mining industry has always acted as a major barrier to students joining and staying in the mining industry. People want to work in fields where they are guaranteed of job opportunities all the time. It is common for mining companies to stay clear of vacation employment programs whenever the sector in on a downturn. Companies only throw money for internships and scholarships when the industry is expanding.
As it stands the industry must come up with a framework that minimizes the impact of the cyclicality of operations. Development of human capital strategies must also come into play as a way of ensuring that mining school graduates remain consistent with demand.
Mining is one of the key drivers of the Canadian economy given the number of people that the industry employs. In addition, the country generates a significant amount of revenues on the mining of various natural resources as well as precious metals. Amidst the labor shortages, a number of companies continue to offer exciting investment opportunities.
Top Canadian Mining Stocks
Barrick Gold Corp (TSE: ABX) is one of the biggest mining companies not only in Canada but also on the global scene. The company provides solid exposure to the gold mining business being the largest gold producer in the world. Its stock has been flying high in the wake of the company reporting a profit of $194 million from loss of 94 million a year earlier.
Teck Resources Ltd (NYSE: TECK) is another mining giant that boasts of a diverse selection of natural resources. With over fifteen mines spread across North and South America, the company provides greater exposure to copper and coal mining business. The company also mines germanium and indium.
MAG Silver Corp (TSE: MAG) is an ideal pick for investors looking to diversify their holdings around Silver. The top quality silver miner invests in silver-dominant projects across the Americas. The stock has risen by more than 50% in the wake of silver prices edging higher. With $162 million in the balance sheet and zero debt, the company is well positioned for rapid growth as silver prices tick higher.