Why Miners get paid so much?

The Australian hardrock underground mining industry is one of those unique industry’s. Where what an individual person does as a miner, makes a huge difference to how much money a company makes. This is why miners get paid so much money. Yes, they work long hours, 12 hours a day, often for weeks at a time. However time is only a small part of what an Australian hardrock underground miner gets paid for. It’s their professionalism and work ethic in the work place that has made Australian hardrock underground miners, some of the best paid and most sort after miners 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 like Byrnecut, Barminco, Ruc and many others 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 between $5000 and $7000 a metre. If you have one operator getting half a metre more per cut (the term used to describe each advancement) and with each operator normally expected to get at least 2 cuts per shift. Over time the difference can be massive and measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year. Little wonder that people in these jobs often get paid $1500 a day plus. Keep in mind that 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 could 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 for the employers.

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.
If you want to see the jobs, you just have to type underground into Seek. The employers are screaming for people in the underground workplace at the moment. They have no choice but to fill the Nipper, Truck Operator, Diamond Driller Offsider, Agi Operator, even Paste Crew and Service Crew jobs with entry level people.

These jobs are on Hardrock gold, nickel, copper, zinc, lithium and other base metal mines located all around Australia. You only need a manual car license (yes, you only need a manual car license to drive an underground truck), a police clearance and pass a medical including a drug and alcohol test to get one of these jobs. 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 and 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