How to become a Miner

Miners operate equipment to excavate, load and transport coal, ore, mineral sand and rock, either underground or in open-cut mines.

Personal requirements of a Miner

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Aptitude for mechanical equipment operation
  • Able to tolerate physically demanding work, including shiftwork
  • Willing to work in accordance with occupational health and safety rules
  • Meet age restrictions, if applicable

Education & Training for a Miner

To become a miner you usually have to complete a traineeship in Surface Extraction Operations, Underground Coal Mining, Underground Coal Operations, Underground Metalliferous Mining or Small Mining Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. You can also become a miner through a VET qualification in surface extraction operations, underground coal mining, underground coal operations, underground metalliferous mining or small mining operations. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Duties & Tasks of a Miner

Miners may perform the following tasks:

  • cut drives into the ore body using specialist equipment
  • extract coal or ore by drilling, blasting or excavating
  • load ore into mine cars, trucks or conveyors for transport to the stockpile or mine surface
  • undertake development work such as opening up new shafts, drives, air vents, rises and crib rooms
  • support the walls and roofs in underground mines with rock bolts and erect wooden or steel props, pillars and arches
  • install lighting, pumps, cabling and other equipment to service the mine
  • monitor the operation of plants and ensure the safety of other workers on mining sites and during drilling operations
  • operate auxiliary plants (such as pumps) to expel air, water and mud.

Working conditions for a Miner

Mines are often located in remote areas. Miners and plant operators may have to work in dusty, hot and noisy conditions. Many workers are employed at mine sites on a fly-in, fly-out basis, usually flying from a base location to the mine site, where they work for a number of weeks and then return to the base location. Although they work as part of a team, miners generally work without direct supervision. Mining operations around Australia have a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol.

Employment Opportunities for a Miner

Miners are employed by mining companies, often in remote regions. Australian mines are generally highly automated and employment is normally in machine-operating positions. Employment opportunities fluctuate depending on the level of activity in the resources sector.


Mine Shift Supervisor

A mine shift supervisor regularly inspects mine sites (both above and below ground) and roadways to check that conditions are safe, and ensures compliance with safety regulations and emergency procedures. They also supervise shotfiring and conduct tests to detect gas or insufficient ventilation. Other career progression opportunities for miners include registered mine manager, undermanager, mine deputy and open-cut examiner.

Open Cut Miner

An open cut miner uses mobile plant machinery (such as bucketwheel excavators, draglines, mining shovels, bulldozers, graders and front-end loaders) to extract ore from the mine.

Underground Miner

An underground miner travels down vertical shafts or sloping declines to reach the workface. Duties may include rockbolting the walls and roofs of mines, building timber or steel props, pillars or arches to support the rock and back-filling mineral voids.

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