Global spending for the Metals & Minerals Industry continues to remain hot. Industrial Info is monitoring 691 projects totaling $136 billion scheduled to begin construction in 2008. The majority of spending, about 41%, is planned to occur in Asia, which is looking at 102 projects totaling $56.2 billion scheduled to begin construction in 2008. China, India and Vietnam are the leading countries attracting Metals & Minerals Industry investments. Following Asia is North America where mining, cement and steel projects account for about 80% of the total. There are 430 Metals & Minerals Industry projects totaling $36.1 billion scheduled to begin construction in North America next year. Other world regions with major Metals & Minerals project spending include Africa with 79 projects totaling $22.9 billion and South America with 38 projects totaling $13.4 billion.
Some speculate that the growth spurt experienced in the global construction of mines, steel mills and cement manufacturing has peaked because of rising energy, engineering and construction prices, a worldwide labor shortage, not to mention economic slowdown indicators. However, rising demand for raw materials (cement, iron ore, steel) and specialty materials (alloys, titanium, polysilicon, molybdenum, to name a few) in emerging markets/countries continue to drive new project announcements.
Global Metals & Minerals Industry project growth will be constrained by all of the issues mentioned about. For example, in order to implement the explosion of project activity that is projected, owner handling of issues like the labor shortage will be paramount to project success. In British Columbia new mining projects are expected to require up to 15,000 people to take new and replacement labor jobs for new mining projects. The requirement in neighboring province Alberta, which has in excess of $125 billion in planned mines, in-situ production, upgrading, pipeline and terminal storage projects in the works, dwarfs that of British Columbia.
Companies are actively recruiting in Asia and South American to staff projects in the area.
And this is not a trend confined to the mining industry. Energy, refining, chemicals, Metals & Minerals, alternative and renewable fuels are all experiencing shortages of the things necessary to complete projects including skilled laborers and craftsmen, electricians, mechanics, rotating equipment specialists, crane operators, engineers, geologists, carpenters, welders, iron workers and project managers. Those with any experience in these fields are in great demand. Middle East energy and industry experts Contax Group (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) have stated that costs for bringing new projects from the planning to operation stage have more than doubled in recent years.