How to explain the Mining Industry to someone new

How to explain the mining industry to someone new isn’t a straight forward thing. It can take hours and pages of information. Having to go into the differences between states, mining methods and if it is coal or hardrock, it can do your head in. For a long time, I have been trying to find an easy way to explain why mining is run the way it is.

There is one rule. I think explains how the industry works, on the hardrock side of things. This rule is enforced Australia wide, by all the hardrock mines inspectorates and it means that.

The employer has to be able to prove to the mines inspectors, that all workers on site have been trained adequately in all the jobs that they are performing and can/could be expected to preform. Records of this training must be made in the form of tickets/procedures and are non-transferable. They must be kept on site (and kept for 7 years in most inspectorates). They must be located in the training room for easy inspection.

This one rule has led to a huge increase in safety over the last 25 years. It has made the management and owners of the mine directly responsible for each employee. In a way that can be measured and easily checked (the onsite ticketing/procedure system). However this has had issues regarding the level of training available to the public before they can start in the job. 

I know a lot of people reading this have had the “experience run around”. You can only get a job with experience but you can only get experience with a job. I know how frustrating this is. However when the employer has to train, or show that they have trained each employee. No matter how much experience the miner has. You can see there’s not a lot of incentive to spend big money on setting up TAFE courses and formal qualifications.

This means that tickets obtained on one site can not be transferred to another site. Which also means that those 3 day truck driving courses aren’t going to get you a job any time soon. This is why hardrock  employment ads ask for experience not a qualification. You can go straight to the source by typing “underground” into seek and see for yourself. The entry level roles are Nipper, Truck Operator, Diamond Driller Offsider and Agi Operator. If you start on a 2&1 roster for these jobs, most people start on around $100K a year.

If you have just started looking then there are lots of entry level mining jobs going on Hardrock gold, nickel, copper, zinc, lithium and other base metal mines all around Australia. You can improve your chances by getting your mining knowledge up to speed. Using one of the Underground Training packages (DIY Introduction to underground mining or Workready)

The training is not a magic bullet. You need to spend the time studying and applying for jobs to make it work. Lots of people have made it work for themselves. You can see this on our Wall of Fame page. If you would like to talk to someone about how to get a start in the mining industry then you can leave your details in this link. Good luck to everyone, hope you get the start you are chasing soon.


The Mining Coach