How To Get A Job In The Australian Mines?

Get a start in the mining industry.


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Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: 13th May 2024

how to get a job in the mines
Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: 13th May 2024

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Getting a job in the mines can be lucrative because mining is big business in Australia. Resources companies like BHP, Woodside, and Rio Tinto make up a significant proportion of the Australian stock market’s value, and our precious commodities contribute strongly to Australia’s export earnings.

The mining industry delivers the highest weekly income in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The average weekly cash earnings in the mining sector is $3,008. That is more than 2X the average across all industries of $1,489.

Mining also pays well due to the risk, remote locations and demanding work schedules employees must accept.

How can you pursue a six-figure mining salary with minimal industry experience? Discover how to get into mining jobs in Australia.

Which Professions Do Mines Employ?

The workforce needed on mine sites is varied, from exploration to extraction and processing to closing down mine sites.

Mining companies want employees with technical, scientific, and trades-based skills, which can include:

Profession CategoryExample
Geoscience professionalsGeoscientists, geophysicists, hydro-geologists, surveyors, GIS and mapping professionals.
EngineersMechanical, electrical, mining, geotechnical, chemical and civil engineers and metallurgists.
Tradies and skills-based workersDiesel mechanics, welders, drillers, dragline operators, drone pilots and shot firers.
Environmental professionals Diesel mechanics, engineers, welders, drillers, dragline operators, drone pilots and shot firers.

What If You Lack Pre-Requisite Skills?

If you don’t have a degree qualification, professional experience or a trade, you can still get a job in the mining industry.

Entry-level roles in mines include assistant positions, dump truck or machinery operators and general labourers.

Additionally, inexperienced workers are often hired to ensure mining camps run smoothly. Roles in hospitality and cleaning are almost always available.

What Are The Requirements For Mining Jobs?

Regardless of the job, if you’re looking for a mining job that involves on-site work, you’ll need to:

  • Pass a pre-employment medical proving you’re fit and healthy enough to handle the long hours and sometimes physically arduous tasks.
  • Undergo an generic induction or site/company-specific induction processes. Independent training organisations offer generic induction (standard 11) courses in-person and virtually. 
  • Submit to and pass drug and alcohol testing procedures to show you’re safe to have on-site. These tests may be daily, and there’s a zero tolerance policy.

This is the bare minimum.

Requirements For Entry-Level Mining Jobs.

Even entry level roles like trades assistants, truck drivers or plant operators may also require basic certifications. For example:

  • Heavy rigid (HR) truck licence.
  • Backhoe/loader licence.
  • Dozer operator training.

Some mines may offer on-the-job training in specific machinery like boggers, coal cutters, and draglines. But you’ll stand apart if you can demonstrate on your resume that you’ve got experience with heavy machinery or equipment operation.


Unless you get a traineeship or a role where training is included, completing an induction and other courses to obtain licences can cost thousands of dollars.

Requirements For Skilled Mining Jobs.

Skilled professions and tradespeople are more in demand, but you’ll still need an exhaustive list of qualifications, certifications and tickets.

Let’s say you’re an experienced electrician but you’ve only worked in residential settings.

In addition to being a licensed electrician in the state you’re seeking to work in, you’ll have a better shot at landing a mining gig if you also possess:

  • White Card (general construction induction card).
  • Working at Heights certificate.
  • Elevating Work Platform (EWP) Over 11m training.
  • Confined Space and Gas Test Atmospheres tickets.
  • First Aid, CPR and Low Voltage Rescue (LVR) training.
  • High Voltage switching ticket.
  • PLC (programmable logic controller) training.

Expert Tip.

The easier it is for you to safely be on-site, the easier it will be for you to get a job — even if you don’t have any specific mining industry experience.

Where To Find Mining Jobs?

Mining jobs are advertised on job boards like Seek, LinkedIn and CareerOne. But if you don’t have a sought-after qualification or years of experience in mining, you’ll need to work harder to get into the mines.

Here are three steps to help you find mining work.

1. Mine Your Mining Contacts.

Knowing someone already in the industry can be helpful. If you have a friend, relative, or former workmate who has a connection in the mining industry, ask if they’ll refer you.

Otherwise, consider joining networking events where you can potentially meet mine managers or supervisors, or people who recruit on their behalf.

2. Move Closer To Mines.

While fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) is a thing — it’s designed to make on-site work more appealing to experienced workers.

For many jobs, your proximity to mining operations does matter.

If you’re not living in WA yet, you’re a less attractive candidate for a remote Western Australian mine. Consider whether you can move states or closer to a mining town.

Living within a remote community that supports a nearby mine can make it easier to find entry-level roles through labour hire companies looking to fill positions quickly.

3. Build Relevant Mine Site Experience.

Getting any experience on a mine site and having been through a company’s induction process previously gives you a huge advantage, so securing short-term contracts and backfill positions is a great place to start.

You can look for work via:

  • Labour hire companies. In 2019, around 11% of the total mining industry workforce was labour hire workers. Register with multiple agencies to increase your odds of getting mine work.
  • Major construction/infrastructure projects. Look for large contractors engaged to build mine site structures/facilities, who may need short-term staff or sub-contractors.
  • Contract work during shut downs. Mine shutdowns see the temporary closure of mine sites to allow for inspections, repairs and upgrades, which requires a temporary workforce.
  • Mining service providers such as drilling companies, consultant engineering firms, scientific analysis companies and machinery maintenance businesses.

Labour hire companies that specialise in mining workforces include:

  • TechForce.
  • LNG recruitment.
  • Engineering Trades.
  • UGM.
  • Workpac.
  • Onekey Resources.

Common FAQs About Jobs In The Mines.

Getting a mining job can take time and perseverance. Make sure you understand what you’re working towards — here are answers to common questions people have about joining the mining industry.

What’s It Like Working In The Mines?

Maybe you’ve seen a clip on social media glamourising the on-site mining lifestyle.

Many camps now boast comfortable accomodations; extensive facilities like entertainment rooms, gym and pool; and great food with diverse and tasty options.

But the fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) lifestyle is also notoriously hard.

Some downsides to working on-site at mines to consider:

  • Unusual work schedules, such as two weeks of 12-hour days followed by one week off, or working night shifts, can be both physically and mentally draining.
  • Monotonous work. Some people will find it difficult to have to complete the same repetitive and labour-intensive tasks many times.
  • Missing family and friends, including not being able to attend special occasions and having to reconnect with young children after long absences.
  • Isolated location of mine sites usually comes with dry, dusty and hot weather conditions, and the inability to relieve boredom by travelling anywhere.
  • Mental health issues can be harder to manage due to the intensive work schedule and isolation.

What Can You Earn In An Entry Level Mining Job?

Entry-level roles typically pay more than average, but it’s unrealistic to expect big bucks for unskilled or temporary work.

However, because the turnover at mines can be high—prove you’re reliable and invested in a mining career and you can boost your prospects quickly.

Once you’ve got a foot in the door and demonstrated your ability to work hard and be dependable, you can move into higher-paying and more permanent positions.

What’s It Like For Women Working On Mine Sites?

Mines in Australia are equal opportunity employers and many specifically seek to bolster the number of women in their ranks through hiring, special programs and mentoring support.

It’s also fair to say that as a woman you will be in the minority, and inequality, sexism, and harassment and assault does occur on Australia mine sites.

No industry can guarantee you won’t be exposed to these risks—but mine sites may be more intimidating for women than other workplaces.

Get Ahead With A Job In Mining.

By getting into the mines, you can get ahead financially if you secure a high-paying role.

To get the best mining jobs without years of experience, be prepared to develop your skills and patiently earn a reputation in the industry through temporary or contract roles.


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