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Mining sector faces skills-shortage, mass retrenchments

14 Dec 2012 13:53
According to Independent Online, South Africa's mining sector faces both a shortage of technical professionals and mass retrenchments next year. A shortage of key skills is the biggest risk facing the mining sector for next year, after the threat of nationalisation, international credit insurer Coface says.
Formally trained employees in the mining sector include engineers, who make up 10 percent of the workforce, and administrative staff, who make up 15 to 20 percent. "We completely rely on foreign parties to do analysis for exploration projects. For example, geologists in South Africa are few and far between. We pay exorbitant amounts to employ expatriates," Coface lead analyst Saijil Singh said.

Labourers make up the balance of between 70 percent and 75 percent of the workforce. They have limited skills and are at the greatest risk of retrenchments next year as mines seek to curb costs, Independent Online reports. Singh said it was difficult to up-skill employees to fill the shortage of engineers, In addition, he added, "mines are stating that they believe it is not profitable to have a large workforce."

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Read more: Coface, Saijil Singh