How to get a Mining Job in Australia
Get on the right track to finding work in the mining industry and establish whether or not mining work is for you.
You may have probably heard the stories about a friend of a friend who is earning over $100,000 a year on a mine somewhere in Western Australia or Queensland, and wondered how you could get a mining job too.
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- Knowing where the hot jobs are and when so you can make a plan
- 16 tried and tested ways to find work in Australia
- How Aussie employers work
- Everything you need to know and a lot more than when we could cover on this website. Get the eBook now.
While it’s possible to get a mining job in Australia (even in downturns) a lot depends on your experience, qualifications and "tickets". For backpackers without experience of any sort you will probably hear even more stories about people who can’t find a mining job - but then some do and it's our goal to help you!
- Benefits of Getting a Mining Job in Australia
- Ways to Go About Get a Mining Job in Australia
- Women Working on the Mines
- Conditions on Mining Sites
- Before You Go to Work on a Mining Site – What to Expect
- Advice From Miners
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Benefits of Getting a Mining Job in Australia
o Even at entry level, the pay is very good and this is mainly to do with the fact that mining is big business in Australia. Also, most mines are in the middle of nowhere, which is another reason why they pay employees so well.
o You can also get a second working holiday visa through mining.
o Most of the work is on-site in a remote area and employees usually work two/four weeks on and one week off. With your accommodation provided, this can give you a opportunity to save a lot of money.
Ways to Go About Get a Mining Job
The mining industry can be very difficult to get into, especially if you have no previous experience or qualifications. You need to be persistent and have patience, when applying for mining jobs. If you’re serious about getting a mining job then try everything until you have exhausted all avenues. Here are some of the best ways to go about getting a mining job in Australia:
- Have Qualifications and/or experience
- Establish Contacts and Network
- Contact Recruitment Agencies and/or Labour Hire Companies
- Go to the Mining Towns
- Be in the Right Place at the Right Time
- Shut Downs
Have qualifications and/or experience:
If you have a qualification in engineering, geology or construction you should find it a lot easier than most people to find work on a mining site. If you have a trade you may also find it easier to find a job on the mines than someone who doesn’t have a trade.
Establish contacts and network:
Talking to people who are currently working on mining sites can be a big help, especially if you have no previous experience or qualifications. It would be even better if you could get in contact with expats from your own country who are working on mining sites. They can let you know who to call and what you need to do.
Contact recruitment agencies and/or labour-hire companies:
For a recruitment agency to consider you, you will need to have a skill, trade or qualification. If you don’t have a particular skill, trade or qualification then contact labour hire agencies in the mining town you’re thinking of going to.
It may not be the best idea to travel to the other side of Australia, just to get to a popular mining town. There are mines all over Australia, so find out which ones are near your current location and visit them.
Be in the right place at the right time:
Unfortunately, this can be the case for a lot of entry-level mining jobs, so you will need a lot of patience.
Shutdowns are exactly what the name suggests. Every now and then mining sites need to shut down for upgrades, maintenance or repairs and they usually hire people temporarily to work during shut downs. A lot of the work is unskilled and doesn’t last very long, so it’s great for backpackers who want to keep on travelling and don’t want to make a full-time commitment. It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door and gain valuable on-site experience.
To do certain mining jobs you will need to get licences and training, or ‘tickets’ as they are more commonly known. There are lots of different types of tickets depending on what type of work you’re going to do. Some tickets can be very expensive and mines in different states require different tickets, so you really need to do your research before you start spending money on courses.
Women Working in the Mines
Don’t think that just because you’re female that the mining companies and recruiters won’t consider you. The mining industry in Australia is becoming increasingly gender neutral. It’s not just cooking and cleaning jobs either on offer for women either; more and more women are working on Australian mining sites, and in some cases, companies even prefer women for certain jobs. For example, a popular job for women on mining sites is driving a dump truck because research has shown that women are easier on the multi-million dollar equipment yet still get the job done.
Conditions on Mining Sites
Conditions on mining sites can vary greatly, depending on where you work. A lot of Australian mines are very remote, so most shifts will work on a FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) basis, where employees will work a certain amount of weeks and then get one week off and are flown out of the mine and back into the city.
o Most on-site camps will have great facilities i.e. gym, swimming pool, pool tables etc
o All on-site camps will provide cooked meals, so you don’t have to worry about cooking after a 12 hour shift.
o Most on-site camps will also have a cleaning service so your accommodation will be cleaned for you.
o Most on-site accommodation will have a TV, internet access and a phone.
o Mines are generally hot and dusty, with lots of annoying flies.
o The work can be work can be very laborious and monotonous, especially if you are inexperienced or underqualified.
o The majority of mining sites are very remote with nowhere to go.
Before You Go to Work on a Mining Site – What to Expect
o If you are inexperienced and unqualified you need to be fit and ready for physical labour. The work will be very repetitive and routine based with long 12-hour days, so you really need to be mentally prepared, as well as physically.
o Some mines will have a very high turnover of workers. This is because many people go to work on the mines not knowing what to expect. Because there can be such a high turnover, you may not start earning big money straight away, although your wages won’t be small either. Once you’ve proved yourself to be a reliable worker, your wages should increase.
o Most mining companies will run police checks, as well as drug and alcohol tests. Even though there are wet mess areas on-site where workers can unwind and drink alcohol, they do have to drink in moderation and be fit-for-work before their shift starts.
Advice from Miners
To give an idea of what it’s really like to work in the mining industry in Australia, we interviewed three miners.
Alan, 33, from Ireland
Entry level or unskilled jobs, like trade assistants (TA's) or plant operators are hard to get now as every man and his dog are applying for them. The best way to get these jobs would be to move out to the little mining towns and live there and register with all the labour hire companies, there are hundreds of them.
Trades people like fitters, welders, boilermakers and electricians still have a fairly good chance of picking up work on mining sites. If you don't have a trade, doing a rigging or scaffolding course would give you a good chance at getting a job, the courses are only about 4 weeks long, but they are fairly expensive.
On most mining sites now the camps are really good. They have en suite rooms and TVs; the food is good; and all the camps have gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and wet mess where you can have a few drinks. On some of the older camps the accommodation isn’t so good, but it’s still better than some of the backpackers I’ve stayed in.
Weather conditions are always stinking hot, except at night time during winter months when it's freezing cold. It’s always dusty and there are always lots of flies buzzing round your face, which is very annoying. The work pace is fairly relaxed though, so you can take plenty of breaks and rehydrate on the really hot days. It doesn’t take long to acclimatise to the heat anyway.
Daniel, 29, from Australia
Rowan, 27, Ireland
3. What advice would you give to someone looking to work on a mine in Australia?