Why Miners get paid so much?

The Australian hardrock mining industry is one of these unique industry’s where what an individual person does as a miner makes a huge difference to how much money a company makes. Yes, miners work long hours, 12 hours a day often for weeks at a time, but time is only part of what an Australian Hardrock miner gets paid for. It’s their professionalism in the work place that has made Australian miners some of the best paid in the world.
It was Australian companies that first recognised the value of the miner and started to pay them accordingly. Either measured in tons moved per bucket or metres advanced the professional miner is what has made the Australian Hardrock industry both on the surface and underground the envy of the world. So much so that our contracting companies are exporting their methods and people around the world.
Take twin boom Jumbo advancement for example, most drills these days are using a 5m steel to drill the holes, that are then charged and fired with explosives. You never get the whole 5m in advancement, how much you get depends on where you placed the holes and most importantly, how straight those holes are. A good jumbo operator can get up to 4.6m advancement while others may only get 4.1m. The difference can be measured with the average cost of a metre advancement at $5000 a metre and you have one operator getting half a metre more per cut (the term used to describe each advancement) with each operator normally gets 2 cuts per shift over time the difference is often measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year. Little wonder that people in these jobs often get paid over $1000 a day and their bonus is paid in metres advanced instead of time spent on the job.
The same can be said of the bogger (underground loader), each time the machine goes in and out it takes time and uses fuel. The more you can carry in one bucket means fewer times the machine has to go in and out to move the same amount of rock. If the bucket can carry 10tons but one operator can only put 6 ton of rock in it then it will take almost twice as long to move the same amount of rock that can be moved by someone that can get the whole 10 tons in the bucket. Again the higher skill level can be measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year.
This is just a couple of examples of how the actions of the employees makes a big difference to how much the company makes per year. These examples are repeated in the Hardrock industry both on the surface and underground. With the skill of the miners making a significant difference for better or worse to the mine operation.
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