Hardrock Underground Mining, an international career
Right now you can start a career in mining as a Nipper, Truck driver or offsider on $400-$450 a day. You can then turn this into a career that includes overseas work as either a Shift Boss, Foreman or Jumbo operator. Earning between $20K and $30K a month, Australian mining companies like Barminco, Byrnecut are running mines around the world using Australian miners to do it. So how and why is this happening?
One of the lesser known facts about Western Australia is that it has set the world standard in hardrock mining with its Mining Act and Regulations. The WA Mines Inspectorate and the systems of work used within it, are seen as worlds best practice. One of the many things that go into making the system so effective are the statutory positions. One of those positions is the underground shift boss job. As the shift boss, it’s your job to run the underground mine for the 12hours shift.
As a statutory position, the shift boss has total control of the mine. They are the only one that can issue instructions to carry out the work. If for some reason the plan changes (which happens often in a fluid workplace like an underground mine) then it’s the shift boss that has to issue the new instructions. If anything goes wrong, then it’s the shift boss standing in front of the magistrate. As you can imagine, people with these set of skills are in high demand. No underground mine in WA can operate without a ticketed shift boss in place.
To get your Western Australian Underground Supervisor Certificate of Competency (commonly known as a shift boss ticket) you have to have 5 years practical experience doing the different mining jobs. It’s only 2 years practical experience if you have a mining degree. To get your ticket without a degree you must pass 2 examinations. One in the law, the other in the practical running of the mine. These test are run twice a year, they are set and run by the WA mines department. If you have a mining degree you only have to do the law examination.
People come from all over the world to sit for these statutory positions, which include quarry manager, underground mine manager and pit manager. So effective is WA’s mixture of automation and mechanisation in underground mining that just about everyone in the world is trying to run their own version, often with limited success. This is where the demand for the Australian miners and mining companies comes from. Like they say there’s “nothing like the real thing”. Getting people directly from the system you are trying to copy is a choice lots of mine owners are making. For most owners, it doesn’t get any better than getting Australian’s to run their mines.
If you think you want to start a career in underground mining then check out our DIY Introduction to Underground Mining and Workready packages. They’re looking for people that can answer the mining questions in an interview, who are happy to relocate for a job. Hardrock underground gold, nickel, copper, zinc, lithium and other base metal mines all around the country are having to hire new starters for the Nipper, Truck Operator, Agi Operator or Diamond Driller Offsider jobs. If you type “underground” into seek, you will see all the jobs come up.
If you get in now, you are getting in at the start of the next big cycle. The new cycle is all about these new batteries that are going to be everywhere. The batteries not only need Lithium but also Nickel, Copper, Zinc, Lead to make it all work. With only a 6 months supply of most of these metals, the demand for metals will ramp up quickly, requiring more mines to be opened both here in Australia and around the world. The industry requires the next generation of Australian miners to run them.
Good luck, hope everyone gets the mining job they want.
The Mining Coach