Mining is set to be a big part of Ireland’s future, with mining being a key part of the economy and a significant contributor to GDP growth.
But the future is not so clear.
It is an area that could see many companies disappear, while the growth in the industry will depend on the investment and expertise of its workers.
The growth in mining jobs in Ireland is expected to be around 30 per cent by 2020 and there are also around 400,000 people employed in mining in Ireland as of 2018.
However, a recent report by the Irish Mining Federation (IMF) indicates that the mining industry is in fact facing significant challenges.
According to the report, the Irish mining sector is facing a large number of structural challenges including lack of infrastructure, a lack of knowledge, and an increasing number of casual workers.
Furthermore, the overall level of education of miners is very low, with only around 40 per cent of young people having a high school degree.
The report says this is largely due to the lack of investment in infrastructure, education and skills training.
The biggest challenge, however, lies in the lack for skilled workers to enter the industry, with many people finding it too difficult to get into the industry.
A recent study by the National Association of Mining Colleges (NASMIC) has identified the biggest challenges facing the industry as a result of the global economic downturn.
According the NASMIC, the main reason why Ireland is seeing fewer and fewer new companies enter the sector is the fact that the industry is facing significant structural challenges, as well as the lack the skills and training necessary to enter this new sector.
Accordingly, the NASLIC has launched a national survey on the challenges facing mining in the country to gather information about the industry and its impact on the economy.
The NASMIGA report states that the main challenges facing new companies entering the sector include:The NASLIGA survey is a one-off survey, with an aim to provide an accurate picture of what the industry currently faces and to provide the mining sector with the information needed to plan its future.
The survey was carried out between January and March 2018, and the results were published on Tuesday.
It also found that the unemployment rate among miners is about 23 per cent and the number of workers employed is lower than it was in 2017.
However there are still more than 11 million people employed at mining companies in Ireland, with a majority of them being employed by small to medium sized enterprises.
The National Association for Mining Colleges also reported that mining was the largest single source of employment in the Irish workforce in 2017, with more than 5,000 employees in mining, construction, and oil and gas sectors.
However a majority (54 per cent) of these are small and medium sized businesses.
The number of new companies entered in 2017 was 7.6 per cent higher than in 2016 and there were 8,000 new jobs created in mining.
However the NASPIC report states there are currently around 500,000 unemployed workers in the mining workforce.
Furthermore the NASI report also states that in 2017 more than half of the employers surveyed (52 per cent), said they were facing a high level of unemployment.
The problem is that the majority of people who are employed are people with low qualifications and those who are not qualified are not going to get jobs.
The NICLIC report also revealed that, despite the increased investment in mining over the last few years, there is a very limited pool of qualified and experienced people to employ in the sector.
Furthermore there is no guarantee that the number and quality of skilled workers are high enough to fill the gaps left by the retirement of existing staff and a lack in skills training is another major problem.
The latest survey also found, however that more than 1.5 million new jobs were created in the construction sector in 2017 compared to just over 500,00 in mining and oil, gas and coal sectors.
Despite these challenges, there are some signs that the sector can turn around.
According it, in 2017 the industry employed around 10,000 temporary workers.
It expects to add around 10 per cent to that figure this year, and hopes to add more than 50,000 workers over the next three years.
However some experts have warned that there is still work to be done, especially with regards to the skills needed to be able to fill jobs in the coming years.
In the coming weeks the NASNIC will also launch a survey to see how the industry views the current workforce.