The North West’s mining industry boasts an estimated residential workforce of about 3500 full-time employees, according to the Queensland Resources Council.
And it says the operations employ about 6200 employees and contractors in total.
Empower Economics principal economist David Lynch said unemployment in the north-west had been declining in recent years, while the total labour force in the area had stayed about the same, meaning the decline was not due to people leaving in search of work elsewhere.
June quarter fi gures showed an unemployment rate for Mount Isa city of 2 per cent, and 2.7 per cent for the wider Outback North statistical area.
However Mr Lynch noted that people in the area were facing changes in wages and conditions as mining operations looked to cut costs in line with the shift in commodity prices.
Recent cuts announced in Glencore’s zinc operations would be substantially off set by new mines coming on such as the Little Eva copper project and Dugald River mine, Mr Lynch said.
“Th is interest in new investment is certainly reassuring during a time of general downturn. It highlights the value of the North West Minerals Province as a resource of national importance and international standing, he said.