Mining of uranium in Western Australia could open up lucrative job prospects for Northlanders provided they are patient and upskill themselves.
That's the message relayed by Reciprocus, a Perth-based recruitment company spearheaded by former Northlanders Edward Rihari and Doug Foster, that organised job seminars in Kaikohe and Ruakaka in May for mining, gas and oil work across the ditch.
As exports of iron and ore to China dipped, Mr Rihari said the untapped resource of uranium could open up massive job opportunities, not just for Northlanders, but for the whole of New Zealand.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, during her trip to India this week, announced that her ruling Labour Party would reverse its ban on selling uranium to the Asian powerhouse.
Australia, which holds an estimated 40 per cent of the world's uranium deposits, has excluded sales to India because it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Frustration is mounting in some quarters in Northland about the delay in securing work but Mr Rihari has urged jobseekers to be patient.
"The downtime [in Western Australia] is when people [Northlanders] should revisit their qualifications, upskill them and get into a trade, even if you don't get anything back.
"Everybody is speculating when jobs will be available but when opportunities come along, everybody needs to get ready and slot it," Mr Rihari said.
He said while most mining companies have deferred expansion, existing projects still required workers and that pre-sale orders for iron and ore were being met.
"Uranium has been an untapped resource and Australia has the biggest uranium resource in the world - bigger than iron, ore and gas - and it could open up opportunities for people back home."
He did not want to give an assurance to Northlanders on roughly when work would become available but urged them on two things.
"Be patient and invest in your education. We can't make any promises to people back home because projects get delayed in circumstances beyond our control.
"During the downturn, suppliers hold back their supplies and sell when prices recover. They are basically controlling the supply and demand curve," he said.
Mining giant Rio Tinto last week announced an increase in its global cost-cutting drive and a reduction on spending on new projects, as the pace of the slowdown in China continues to surprise the resource industry.