A 2009 perspective of HR practices in Australian mining
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the idea of how HR professionals undertake strategic, management and operational roles in mining organisations during varying economic cycles. The discussion is primarily set in the Western Australian context. Design/Methodology/Approach - A review of the relevant literature, an overview of mining industry trends in Australia and an examination of HR issues in the mining industry, provide the background for developing a case for a strategic approach using HR practices to address challenges. Findings - A 5-point model for effective delivery of HR in the mining industry is proposed as a means of overcoming environmental discontinuities. Research limitations/implications - Whilst an extensive list of research in the mining industry, is not cited, given that the mining industry tends to operate globally and HR departments source and deploy professional staff on a global basis, the implications for future research are more extensive than limiting. Practical implications - Contrary to many current practices used in mining organisations, suggestions are made regarding specific approaches that can be promulgated to change HR policies and procedures to assist overcoming, or mitigating, bust cycle issues in the industry. Originality/value - Mining companies need a well organised plan if they are to balance out the extremes of the industry's boom/bust cycles. The model in this paper, establishing strategic implementation strategies for HR policies and procedures, provides a direct approach to business improvement and a direct link between corporate and mine-site HR issues.
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