Shotfirers assemble, position and detonate explosives to break or dislodge rock and soil or to demolish structures.
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).
Shotfirers may perform the following tasks:
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.
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.
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.
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.
A fireworks specialist uses small explosions to create special effects, generally for public viewing.
An oil and gas well blasting (offshore and onshore) uses explosives to access oil and gas reserves.
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.
A seismic blaster detonates explosives to create seismic waves which provide information about underground mineral and petroleum deposits.
A submarine (underwater) blaster uses explosives to clear areas underwater as well as create holes for the foundation of civil constructions, such as bridges.
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.