Mining companies in Australia have been told they should be doing more to address a shortage of qualified anthropologists by encouraging training and development of qualified professionals in house and on a larger scale.

University of Queensland professor David Trigger said there is a scarcity of skilled professionals to examine Native Title claims and conduct cultural surveys in Western Queensland required to kick-start projects in sensitive areas.

The professor said there is a backlog of claims in the courts at present that could be helped in future with an increase in professionals in the trade.