How to become a Shotfirer

Shotfirers assemble, position and detonate explosives to break or dislodge rock and soil or to demolish structures.

Personal requirements of a Shotfirer

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to lead and supervise a team
  • Able to accept responsibility
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to pass a medical examination
  • Able to work in confined spaces, including underground
  • Basic skills in mathematics and science

Education & Training for a Shotfirer

To become a shotfirer you usually have to obtain a licence for the appropriate class of work. Training, work experience and supervision requirements may vary depending on the type of work you wish to carry out (construction, mining or fireworks, for example).

Duties & Tasks of a Shotfirer

Shotfirers may perform the following tasks:

  • check blasting areas to make sure that safety regulations are met
  • establish safe exclusion to control movement of personnel, livestock and vehicles around and on the blast area
  • apply basic geology to assist in blast design, and interpret and apply blast design principals
  • cut channels under working faces
  • check bore-hole depths and ensure that they are clean
  • calculate quantity of explosives required to achieve desired result
  • insert detonators and charges into holes
  • connect and test or inspect the blasting circuit
  • fire charges
  • inspect the area to make sure all explosives have been detonated
  • manage explosives magazine stock control
  • check site safety after blasting (falling rock hazards, underground mine roof supports and harmful fumes, for example), and declare the area safe.

Working conditions for a Shotfirer

Shotfirers may be required to work in remote areas and in conditions which may be dusty, hot and noisy. They may be required to work shifts.

Employment Opportunities for a Shotfirer

Shotfirers are mainly employed by drilling and blasting contractors. Although mining companies, quarries, civil engineering and road construction firms require shotfirers, this role is often contracted out to specialist companies. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have industry experience on a mine site.


Agricultural Blaster

An agricultural blaster uses small-scale blasting to clear rural areas of objects, such as stumps and boulders, and to create holes for things such as small dams and trenches.

Construction Shotfirer

A construction shotfirer uses blasting to create trenches in which to place foundations for civil constructions such as buildings and bridges. Implosion and explosion techniques used to demolish buildings are a specialised area and require many years of experience.

Fireworks Specialist

A fireworks specialist uses small explosions to create special effects, generally for public viewing.

Oil and Gas Well Blasting (Offshore and Onshore)

An oil and gas well blasting (offshore and onshore) uses explosives to access oil and gas reserves.

Quarry and Open-cut Mining Shotfirer

A quarry and open-cut mining shotfirer uses larger amounts of explosives to clear masses of earth in open areas. Numerous smaller blasts are often detonated together to create a larger force.

Seismic Blaster

A seismic blaster detonates explosives to create seismic waves which provide information about underground mineral and petroleum deposits.

Submarine (Underwater) Blaster

A submarine (underwater) blaster uses explosives to clear areas underwater as well as create holes for the foundation of civil constructions, such as bridges.

Tunnelling and Underground Mining Shotfirer

A tunnelling and underground mining shotfirer uses small amounts of explosives to blast through rock underground. Generally, small blasts are detonated in a sequence to minimise the force and decrease the possibility of unwanted damage.

Additional Information
To be eligible to obtain a licence to work with explosives, you must be at least 18 years of age and pass a National Police Check.
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