Three professors from the University of British Columbia ask this timely question in a newly published article:
…we in the mining business live in interesting times. It is not clear how long the current super cycle will last or how successful we will be in meeting the demands for human resources…..the decision to enter a mining engineering program is typically made at 19 or 20…the current supply of human resources available over the next few years has already made been determined by previous decisions made by young people…and the question must still be asked, what will be the demand for the young people who have yet to make the investment into the world of mining?
I shudder to think of the “young people” who entered mining engineering on the premise of a Super Cycle and the promise of vast salaries via great demand for the services on graduating. I shudder to think how these august professors are going to get young people who have not yet committed to commit now it seems the Super Cycle is wobbling.
The professors close their hastily written piece with this unprofound conclusion:
Only time will tell.
How fast that time has hit! Or has it? This is one question I have not yet heard asked in connection with current events, namely, is the mining Super Cycle over and does this negate all those gloomy predictions of a shortage of mining engineers in coming years?
Put more succinctly: will there be jobs enough in mining for those committed 19 and 20-year olds when they graduate? And will there continue to be a pull into mining engineering if the Super Cycle is proven to be spinning more slowly?
I have no immediate answers to these questions. To have an answer would be to have an understanding of the economy as it will be when executives are paid less, taxpayers pay more, and a new Prime Minister and a new President take over.