The Bowen Basin is likely to see a 20 percent increase in underground mining jobs in the next decade, according Resource Industry Network director Mick Crowe.
Speaking with the Daily Mercury, Resource Industry Network director Mick Crowe confirmed that as underground mining is generally more labour-intensive, the trend could bring opportunity to those keen to enter the resources sector.
"Certainly, if you're choosing a career in coal at the moment, there's a lot more opportunity underground," Mr Crowe said.
Skills required for underground mining opportunities
Even though open-cut and underground miners often study similar subjects, Crowe suggested graduates also get inductions underground.
Resource Industry Network chairman Tony Caruso also reported that the underground sector tended to have slightly more semi-skilled labour and operators.
CQUniversity discipline leader mining and geoscience Brendan Donnelly argued that it's more difficult to transfer from open cut mining to underground, rather than the opposite, because of the increased safety skills needed underground. Operating plant and equipment also required two totally different skill sets.
Source: BHP Billiton
New opportunities in the services sector
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche also confirmed the trend towards underground would also provide new opportunities in the services sector.
"There are companies that specialise in underground. The key technologies for underground are the long wall machines. Installing those, moving those, maintaining them. That's big business," Mr Roche said.
"There's a lot of expertise in keeping underground mines well ventilated" to prevent black lung disease.
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