New WA Mining Boom Brings Automation To The Fore, But The Unions Aren't Happy

Demand for mine workers is almost back at boom-time levels, but changes in technology and growth in automation mean the jobs will be different this time around.

In 2013, at the peak of the last mining boom, more than 116,000 people worked in the sector in Western Australia.

By 2016 there had been an almost 30 per cent decline in employment.

But with increasing production and strong prices in gold and iron ore, there is once again growing demand for workers.

Mining jobs are at the highest level since the boom-time peak, at more than 106,000 people.

WA State Training Board chairman Jim Walker said technology was transforming jobs to an increasing extent.

Mr Walker is currently working with the mining industry and Perth's South Metropolitan TAFE to develop new courses to prepare workers for an increase in automation.