LUSAKA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The global mining industry is experiencing its most serious skills shortage in decades and this is having major ramifications on mining countries around the world, including Zambia, a new report released by mining firms on Wednesday has revealed.
The report, released by the Zambia Chamber of Mines, an association representing foreign mining firms operating in Zambia, said the shortage has made mining countries find it difficult not just to attract skilled, experienced workers but also to retain them.
The report was compiled after interviews conducted at mines in Zambia, South Africa
"The urgency of the skills shortage has seen a renewed emphasis on training in the world's mining companies," Rob Gentle, lead researcher for the report told reporters during the unveiling of the report in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
Nathan Chishimba, the president of the mining body said the skills crisis was both a risk and an opportunity as it provides a strong impetus for countries to boost their output of mining graduates.
"There is no reason why, with the correct policies, and incentives in place, Zambia cannot become a center of excellence in mining skills and an exporter of talent to the rest of the world," he said.
According to the report, the skills most in demand across the global mining industry as a result of the talent shortage include those that were critical to daily operations of mines such as engineers, metallurgists, technicians, mechanics and artisans.
The report has cited three major reasons for the global shortage of high-level mining skills which includes the massive rise in global mineral production over the past 20 years, the biggest retirement wave that has hit the mining industry as well as harsh working conditions such as remote locations of mines.
According to the report, the skills shortage has highlighted the importance for countries to facilitate and simplify the entry of skilled international experts.