Canada: New Investment in More Mature Mining Markets

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Canada’s mining industry is fueled by the efforts of thousands of individuals and companies, spread over a wide range of organizational types and sizes, not to mention a rather large geographical area. Based on the MiHR’s definition of the mining industry, and according to Canadian Business Patterns statistics, roughly 16,500 mining establishments were operating in Canada in 2013

Labor productivity describes the value of output that is produced for every input of labor. This measure indicates how labor is being used to produce output over time; it is commonly expressed as real GDP divided by the number of hours worked, or the value of output per hour of work. Many factors can influence labor productivity: the skills and composition of the workforce; the arrival of new technologies; and additional capital in the form of larger scaled machines and equipment. Each of these factors can affect the manner in which workers are utilized and how they interact with the capital inputs in the process.

Recent studies show that labor productivity has increased from previous decades. While attributing this increase to one factor is near impossible the conclusion drawn was that a number of factors including larger scale capital, ever changing and evolving technologies and sharp increases in mineral prices have led to this increase in production. In spite of the global economic challenges of the late 2000s, the output per unit of labor has generally risen year-over-year.

Earlier this year, employers in the Canadian mining sector anticipated a cautiously optimistic Net Employment Outlook of +6% for the second quarter of 2017. At three percentage points increase from the previous quarter and an increase of nine percentage points from the Outlook reported during the same period in 2016 the trend pointed towards another increase in the third quarter of 2017.

Based on a comment from Darlene Minatel, Vice President, Manpower Canada Operations & Strategic Accounts, “The overall tone for the third quarter is one of cautious optimism. While the economy is still recovering from the effects of low oil prices, we’re seeing slow but steady job growth in many urban areas across the country, a positive sign for the months ahead.”

Employers in the Mining sector anticipated a moderate Net Employment Outlook of +9% for the third quarter of 2017. This forecast was two percentage points higher than the previous quarter and an increase of 11 percentage points from the Outlook reported during the same time the previous year.

“Heading into the fourth quarter of 2017, we’re seeing a general trend of modest growth,” said Darlene Minatel, Vice President & General Manager, Manpower Canada Operations. “Most of the hiring activity is expected to focus on Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, however there are still some bright spots in the rest of Canada, led by an anticipated moderate uplift in the oil and gas sector.”

Part of effective workforce planning is to align these mining opportunities with labor availability as 90% of the Canadian employment law is provincial as opposed to national. These regional distinctions can have an impact on workforce availability and cost in particular, and that impact is not always nominal. The average wage in Alberta is 20% higher than in British Columbia as an example, and levergang workforce insights provides a solid basis for competitive advantage in the mining industry.

Currently, special attention is being given to new gold mining investment within Canada. In fact new investments in more politically stable markets such as the United States and Canada are becoming more attractive as government regulatory impact and operating costs increase in markets such as South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Indonesia.

In many foreign markets potential risks range from employee safety, corruption and terrorism to security of tenure over projects and taxes and regulatory impact. Those who determined that the risks outweighed the potential rewards have operations running in markets such as Canada, Finland and Mexico. While other more adventures organizations continue to reap large rewards in high-risk markets for the time being.