How to chase down your first mining job in the Hardrock underground mining industry

The biggest challenge for a new starter today is how to chase down your first mining job. Standing out to the employers and getting noticed is not easy. The best way to do this, is to gain as much mining knowledge as you can. You need to be able to show the employers you know how their mine works and what is going to be expected of you on site. If you can do that, then this is how people get their start (checkout our Wall of Fame page), using their new found mining knowledge.

You can use Underground Training’s online courses, Do it yourself or Workready to get your mining knowledge up to speed. It just depends on how much support you want or need. With Workready they redo your resume, answer any questions you have about the training, prep you for the interview and come up with a plan of where and how you are going to get in. This mining knowledge allows you to get the employers attention (employers respond to people that have invested in themselves). 

The training is not a magic bullet, you have to put in the work, learn the information and spend the time chasing down the jobs (lots of time on seek applying). Once your mining knowledge is up to speed and you have your new resume (DIY has full instructions on how to redo your resume, as well as interview prep tips and questions), then you can start applying for jobs all over the country.  

If you are in WA or QLD, there are no end of jobs being advertised for FIFO. These are the Nipper, Truck operator, Agi operator, Diamond Driller offsider or Service Crew jobs. You should be applying to all these jobs no matter how much experience they ask for (once you have completed the training). If you are in these states you also have a number of live in options like Kalgoorlie and Mt Isa (you can relocate from interstate as well). 

Kalgoorlie in WA is the most desperate for people at the moment. If you do decide that heading off to one of these large mining towns is the best way forward, then make sure you have a plan. Instead of quitting your current job and going, a better option can be to take some leave, a week or 2 (if you have the time owing). This gives you enough time to see everyone in town and if for some reason you don’t get a start you haven’t put all your eggs into one basket. If you do get a start, then you can resign from your current job and fly home in one of your 7 day breaks to sort the rest out.

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, then I would be looking at the mines in western NSW, that run all the way down to the northern goldfields of Victoria. Most of these large mines work a week on/off or a 2 & 1 roster. This would allow you to stay on site and drive in and out. There are also a number of live in jobs located in regional towns like Cobar, Orange, Parks and Ballarat.

If you are in SA then you have a number of large mines to apply for. Olympic Dam being the largest which does both a live in (Roxbury Downs) and FIFO. There are a number of large mines that are FIFO that regularly advertise for Truck, Nipper and Offsiders positions.

As a new starter, it is the contractors and owner operators that you need to be applying to. Unless the labour hire or recruitment company are asking for new starters (which does happen in mining towns like Kalgoorlie), sending your resume to them can be a waste of time. Recruitment companies are in the business of finding experienced staff, even if that means poaching staff from other companies. You need to be applying to all the contracting companies that hire full time staff, like Byrnecut, Barmico, McMahon, Pybar, GBF, Mineterra, Redpath and Ruc to name a few.

The other option is to apply to the owner operators like Newmont, BHP, Rio, Western Metals, Northern Star and KCGM. Owner operators can pay less than contractors but are a good place to get experience. This can allow you to work your way up to the next level of jobs quicker than will happen on the better paying jobs. These large mines often end up with a high turnover, as experienced staff leave for better paying jobs, forcing them to hire new starters. Sending your resume to HR by email is good but if you are in a position to hand it in personally you should. This can be an effective way of getting the employers attention. The most important thing is not to give up and apply for every job you can. As long as your mining knowledge is up to speed, then it will happen for you, it’s only a matter of putting in the time.

 If you have any questions on how to chase down your first mining job, then you can leave a message and one of the shift bosses will get in touch.

Until next time, I hope everyone finds the job that they are looking for.


The Mining Coach