Press Releases

The latest news and information from PDAC, and Canada's mineral exploration and mining industry.

December 19, 2023: National Report Provides Insight on Challenges Facing the Mineral Exploration Labour Market

For Immediate Release - The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) partnered to produce the 2023 Canadian Mineral Exploration HR Outlook, which enhances labour market information available to mineral exploration stakeholders and serves as the basis for developing an industry strategy and action plan to address key human resources issues.

The report also evaluates a variety of labour supply and demand factors in mineral exploration and identifies short- and long-term workforce challenges and opportunities facing various groups in the mineral exploration sector.

“Our nation requires an inclusive, skilled workforce for a competitive mineral exploration sector,” said Ryan Montpellier, Executive Director of MiHR.  Canada’s minerals and metals play an essential role in the energy transition, yet a lack of youth awareness and interest in mining, coupled with decreasing enrolment trends for undergraduate degrees like geosciences – decreasing by approximately 42% from 2014 to 2020, or 4,800 to only 2,800 enrolments, are likely to lead to tight labour markets and labour shortages due to the dwindling number of students entering this profession."

To address the gap in labour market information, MiHR and PDAC examined the latest, most relevant statistics describing the exploration sector. Additionally, they developed and deployed the 2023 Canadian Mineral Exploration Survey, highlighting stakeholders’ perspectives on mineral exploration careers.

The study reveals several overarching themes related to mineral exploration, such as labour demand trends often being disconnected from post-secondary education trends in many key occupations for mineral exploration, e.g., geoscientists. Dwindling or stagnating enrolment trends can also create difficult labour market conditions and skills shortages. This is especially concerning as mining and mineral exploration are poised to expand in the coming decades.

The Outlook also shares that among career seekers in mineral exploration, a majority (62%) do not have any exposure to the sector until post-secondary studies or after graduating. This limits the reach of recruiters and educators within the industry, underscoring the need for a K-12 outreach strategy. Notably, there is also generally a higher representation of women and immigrants in exploration-related occupations than in the broader mining industry.

“Attracting the next generation of educated and highly skilled workers is crucial for Canada to uphold its position as a world leader in mineral exploration and development," said Lisa McDonald, Executive Director of PDAC. "The Outlook offers precise, comprehensive information that is vital for industry stakeholders to understand the labour challenges at hand. These insights will inform PDAC's work supporting the industry to develop an inclusive, diverse, and skilled workforce." 

Click here to access a digital copy of the 2023 Canadian Mineral Exploration HR Outlook.

About the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR)

MiHR is Canada’s knowledge centre for mining labour market information. An independent, non-profit organization, MiHR leads collaboration among mining and exploration companies, organized labour, contractors, educational institutions, industry associations and Indigenous groups to identify opportunities and address the human resource and labour market challenges facing the Canadian minerals and metals sector.