SANTIAGO May 29 Companies have stepped up their
requests for engineers and other positions at early stage mining
projects in Chile, a local recruiter said on Monday, in a
further sign of activity warming up in the industry.
Chile is the world's biggest producer of copper, which makes
up over half its export earnings. The country also mines gold,
molybdenum, lithium and other minerals.
The global commodities slowdown has hurt Chile's economy,
leading to a sharp downturn in investment and job cuts over the
last three years.
A return to former boom times is still distant. But there
are signs of a rebound in recruitment, Pilar Cruz, senior
consultant of the mining division at Michael Page Chile, said in
As well as being good news for Chile's economy -- where
unemployment has remained relatively low, but job
quality has diminished -- that could be a sign that increased
metals output is around the corner after years of belt
"The roles we're seeing are engineering -- feasibility,
design, and environmental approval," she said.
"It's a good sign that in a couple of years, the
construction phases will start with different kinds of jobs and
a lot more people."
Available vacancies in the mining engineering sector were up
between 20 and 30 percent from a year ago, she said.
Projects hiring include Lundin Mining's Candelaria
copper, gold and silver project, Codelco's expansion
of its Chuquicamata mine to take it underground, a
pre-feasibility study by Goldcorp and Teck Resources
to join two mines into one called NuevaUnion, and
Teck's Quebrada Blanca phase two, said Cruz.
The lithium boom in Chile has also seen a rise in interest
from larger miners looking at diversifying away from copper, she
added. While still a relatively small market, lithium, used in
electric car batteries, has been a rare bright spot in
commodities in recent years.
Salaries, however, were generally some 20 percent less than
in former years, and that was unlikely to change any time soon,
said the recruiter, as companies fight to keep a tight lid on
"These are signals," said Cruz. "I don't think the trend is
short-term, it seems to be rebounding. But it won't transform
(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler)