THE RUNAWAY success of Greater Bendigo's mining industry could be stifled by a looming skills shortage.
Miners spent more money in the municipality than anywhere else in Victoria last financial year.
They splashed $50 million on goods and services at 520 businesses in the area, a new report commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia shows.
Effectively, 28 per cent of all the money miners spent on businesses in Victoria went to Greater Bendigo entities, the Minerals Council says.
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That does not include $90 million in wages that employees might have spent in the area, or the $2.3 million their companies donated in community contributions.
The figures were compiled by economists at Lawrence Consulting.
The bulk of that cash helped miners at Costerfield and Fosterville. Both areas have gold mines, the former of which also digs up antimony.
A number of mining companies are also exploring for gold in other parts of Greater Bendigo.
Some are scouring other parts of central Victoria for minerals but have offices or other operations in town.
Greater Bendigo will likely maintain its place atop other municipalities in the short and medium term, the Minerals Council's Victoria division executive director James Sorahan said.
"It will take a long time before other mines get constructed," he said.
Some of those new mines could sink into central Victorian soil, though western parts of the state are thoguht to hold larger reserves rare earths and mineral sands, Mr Sorahan said.
In the meantime, Bendigo's boomtimes have left mining figures searching for more skilled workers.
They fear skills shortages could intensify.
"It's a challenge ... with the growth of the sector we need more people, and people with the right skills," Mr Sorahan said.
"It's mining engineers, geologists, field technicians and various trades."
The Minerals Council has been working with the region's high schools on programs to show students mining career possibilities.
That has included visits to Fosterville Gold Mine.
Mr Sorahan said the industry is also working with TAFEs statewide on courses to help fuel the boom.
It also wants to see more mines across Victoria.
Mr Sorahan said that the state's mines were often staffed by locals, rather than fly in, fly out workers, and relied on local economies for their supplies.
"The impact of a mine in a region, spending large amounts of money - with most of it staying in a state or local area - is huge," he said.
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