Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough

HOGSBACK reckons there will be a handful of mining engineering students who will be thankful for all the bad press that coal mining is getting at the moment. They will be able to command top dollar as the industry struggles with an acute skills shortage when they graduate in four years.
Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough Hogsback on mining engineers rolling in dough

Hogsback

While the young people of today all seem to want to be environmental scientists and climate change warriors, the Australian economy still needs highly trained engineering professionals to be leaders in its world class coal industry and keep cutting coal for export to our neighbours to the north who need it to provide them with reliable base load power.     
 
Coal mining does not have much cache today but give or take a few years, mining engineers will be worth their weight in gold.
 
As things stand today, mining engineers are doing very well. ABS data on average weekly earnings shows mining workers were the highest paid in the country in 2017-18, earning an average of $2,698 weekly - 64% more than the national average. 
 
The looming skills shortage will make them even more sought after.
 
This shortage will become more acute and then there will be another chorus of people complaining about the inadequacy of the education system.
 
The University of NSW has just six students enrolled to study mining engineering this year, down from 120 enrolments four years ago.
 
UNSW Mining Engineering Head of School Associate Professor Paul Hagan said the School of Mining Engineering was the largest provider of mining engineers, through its undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs. 
 
"UNSW is committed to moving forward in mining education and is actively engaged in seeking improved ways of delivering our services - both in terms of education and research," he said. 
 
However, the very institutions that provide these scarce graduates are now under pressure to withdraw their financial support for the coal industry.
 
The University of NSW Council is being asked to ensure its investments are moved to low carbon indices, that they exclude new thermal coal, tar sands, and limit fossil fuel exposure to 10% below the relevant index benchmark.
 
This follows the lead of other educational institutions such as Oxford University in the United Kingdom and Sydney University who have also gone anti-fossil fuels.
 
The difference is these institutions don't have mining engineering courses of note, whereas UNSW is virtually embedded in the Australian industry.
 
"A key component of our success…is working and identifying closely with the mining industry," UNSW Mining Engineering Head of School Associate Professor Paul Hagan said. 
 
"This means strong support from the industry for our programs, student scholarships, and an integrated program of mine site visits throughout the education process."
 
So by not supporting the coal mining industry, the university could actually be damaging its own mining engineering school.
 
Hogsback reckons that the young mining engineering graduates will be laughing when mining companies compete for their services. However, it will be their shareholders who be baulking at the mining company wages bill in four years' time.