Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King has assured industry leaders that she is “acutely” aware of skills shortages besetting the sector, which is also facing a hard sell to a younger generation about pursuing a career in mining. The minister made the comments at the inaugural Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy forum on Tuesday, where developing the nation’s critical minerals industry was top of the agenda. Much-publicised skills shortages are considered one of the biggest affronts to growth in the sector, which will need a new generation of workers to support the raft of projects lined up in WA and across the country in the race to hit national net-zero targets by 2050. But Ms King said there was little knowledge about mining careers in the current cohort of high school and university students. “I’m acutely conscious that we need many more workers to operate existing mines and to build the pipeline of planned resources projects. The availability of skilled expertise is one of the sector’s greatest challenges,” she said. “The global energy transition will need more mining, not less. If we have to mine more, we’ll need more of our young people to look to a career in mining.” The minister said there was an ‘irony’ that children played popular video game Minecraft on an iPad, but lacked the understanding that there was “actual mining” that took place to build the device they were playing on. “Indicators are that knowledge of mining careers among secondary school and university students is unfortunately extremely low,:” she said. “Students are also often likely to have a negative view of mining in general despite all the benefits it brings them, including through their mobile devices. “I believe the sector has a great story to tell, but many young people see the mining resources sector as damaging to the environment, and do not see the end role for the use of these mined resources in fighting climate change.” It’s estimated there are 300,000 people working in mining across Australia.