Having read a number of different articles about jobs in the Hardrock mining industry that just give generic answers to many of the important questions, I wanted to pull back the curtain and explain who is hiring and why. There are over 100 large Hardrock mines all around Australia, these mines all use the same systems of work/procedures to mine different metals. This means once a person is trained on one of these large Hardrock mines, they become employable on all the others.
These mines are run by a small number of employers. Made up of owner operators (like Newmont and Goldfields that use their own workforce) and contract companies (like Barminco, Byrnecut, Pybar and Redpath). Today these employers find themselves in the position of having to hire new starters to fill the lowest paid jobs on their mine sites. I really don’t want to call them new starter jobs because all employers will hire an experienced person over a new starter, if they are available. I call them the lowest paid jobs on crew because they are, even though these jobs pay between $300-$500 a day.
So how did the employers get here?
From the end of 2012 to 2015 a number of these large mines were put into care and maintenance, this forced large numbers of miners to be laid off. The number of large mines dropped to as low as 80, this meant that miners had nowhere to go if their mine was one of the ones that closed. Much like a game of musical chairs, when the music stopped at the end of 2012, if you didn’t have a seat you were in trouble. Many miners got large pay outs from a number of the own operators that closed, but most and this is important, moved on from the industry into other careers.
This bust reduced the experienced workforce by 20%, most of who moved into other jobs that allowed them to be home every night. Then at the end of 2015, when a number of the large mines reopen, hundreds of miners were once again required. Employers thought that all those people that were tossed out in 2012 would come running back, they didn’t. Left with no choice, the employers had to fill the gaps to keep the mine running. This meant new starters had to be hired to fill the lowest paid roles. Employers have been trying to catch up ever since, but when 3 out of 5 new starter fail in the first 6months it becomes an ongoing problem.
You only have to look at the employment ads to see how often they are repeated. Once you find out, that to run one of these large mines effectively, the employers need 12 to 50 truck drivers, 3 to 12 Nippers, 12 to 36 Service/paste fill crew members and 3 to 24 diamond drillers offsiders on each site, it’s not hard to see how the employers have got into trouble. The numbers will vary depending on the mines size and number of crews but this gives you some idea of why the industry is constantly looking for new starters to fill these low paid jobs. There are hundreds of these jobs going constantly around the country.
With the number of mines expected to grow to well over 120 by the end of 2018 the problems for the employers isn’t going to stop any time soon. This means that the opportunities for people to start their mining career have never been better. So if you want to give it a go then get yourself trained in the Hardrock systems of work (really important to getting the job and surviving the first six months) and start applying. Any questions leave me a message in the link across the page. Good luck.