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Mining slowdown part of the game: WA industry

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The Western Australian mining industry said unstable resource prices and job cuts are common in the mining industry and it is accustomed to it.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s Sarah Hooper said there is hope, however, as the sector shifts from a construction period to an operations period, the ABC reported.

“Prices fluctuate and that’s a reality in the mining industry and is something that is always taken into consideration,” she said.

“It’s never good when it happens but it is something that the mining industry is used to and used to having to deal with.”

A leading economist from Merrill Lynch recently warned that Western Australia is almost in recession as unemployment climbs in the state.

Senior economist Saul Eslake said the spike in unemployment comes as economic conditions worsen in the state.

Unemployment was at 5.2 per cent in April, a jump from 3.5 per cent in May last year. It comes as a government report released last month said the investment phase of the mining boom has possibly peaked.

Capital expenditure is expected to dip by two-thirds over the next five years, which will have an impact on employment levels in the industry.

The slide in gold prices has affected Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Goldfields sector. Barrick Gold laid off 22 workers from its Kanowna operation east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder recently.

It cut 60 workers from its Western Australian operations.

Around 5000 jobs have gone in WA’s mining sector, with gold and iron ore taking the biggest hits.

The two commodities were the biggest employment creators in the state.

An ANZ Job Ads Survey recently said there has been a decline in job advertisements for the fourth month in a row, with WA worst hit.

The May unemployment figure hit peaks not seen since the GFC, it said.

The WA government recently announced new funding to boost mineral and petroleum exploration in the state.

The co-funded exploration drilling subsidies amount to $7.2 million to more than 60 mineral and petroleum projects in WA’s under-explored regions.

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