Up to 75,000 jobs could be affected in the Australian mining industry over the next few years, as companies slow down on investments worth A$450bn.
Job cuts representing 28% of the total number of jobs in the sector will occur, as the mining industry moves from the construction phase to operational phase, which requires fewer workers.
According to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, the total number of jobs in the mining industry has increased by 80% in the last five years to reach 263,000.
The job losses will add to the country’s 5.8% unemployment rate and will require the creation of 150,000 new jobs a year to maintain this rate.
ANZ senior economist corporate and commercial Justin Fabo was quoted by The Australian as saying that 50,000 to 75,000 high-paid resources-related jobs will be shed across the economy during the next couple of years, creating a headwind to overall employment growth.
"Weaker than expected commodity prices would tilt the risks to more job losses as mining firms seek to cut costs," Fabo said.
"So we think the unemployment rate will be in spitting distance of 6% over the next 12 months, and for improvement after that to be gradual."
ANZ expects Australia’s trade balance to improve in the next three years, with iron ore exports rising to A$75bn and LNG exports increasing to A$67bn in 2020.