UK risks losing vital mining skills

THE UK must do more to promote mining as a career or risk losing a globally recognised skills base, the Government has been warned.

Mining industry is under threat from a lack of skills investment

Domestic mining skills are being lost at an “accelerated rate” in an industry which has faced decades of challenges.

The Business Select Committee today called on the Government to set out why engineering skills such as those used in open cast mining or quarrying are still vitally important in the UK.

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MPs were told that major extraction firms had come to the UK because of its generations long mining skills base, but that this could in future be put at risk

Experts giving evidence to the Commons committee said that there was now only one university in which to mining in the UK.

The Committee report published today says there has been a ‘massive contraction’ in the number of universities offering degree courses in mining engineering over the last 20 years – dropping “from seven down to one”.

Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield, who sits on the committee, said the loss of miners as seen in Yorkshire could see the UK miss out on jobs from a globally growing industry.

He said: “Huge expertise and skills have been developed over many centuries of mining in the UK. We’re concerned that the accelerated running down of UK mining, which we see happening in Yorkshire, could reduce British opportunities to benefit from the strong extractive industries around the rest of the world.

“Losing skills and expertise in this country risks our position as an international centre for the sector. We want to maintain the opportunities that brings for British workers and companies.”