You may have probably heard stories of people earning more than $100,000 a year working as a miner in Western Australia, and wondered how you can get a job as a miner too. Before we go into how you can get a mining job, however, it’s important to know what to expect from the job and whether there’s currently a demand for more workers.
What’s the State of Western Australia’s Mining Industry Today?
The mining industry has indeed seen steady and rapid growth in recent years. Based on data released by the Department of Mines, Industry and Regulation Safety in Western Australia, there are currently more than 112,000 Western Australians who are employed in the mining industry in the past year, and mining companies are looking for more qualified workers.
The sales for petroleum and minerals have reached a staggering $114.9 billion, which is the second highest value in mining history. Gold prices are also expected to increase by 5%, with nickel increasing in value by 26%.
Gold mining has had a significant impact on Australia’s economic progress, and many of these gold mines are in Western Australia. Below are the biggest gold mines you can find in WA:
- Boddington Gold Mine
- Kalgoorlie Superpit Gold Mine
- Telfer Gold Mine
- Jundee Gold Mine
If you happen to be hired by a large gold mining company, you’ll likely be working in one of the locations mentioned above.
Foreign Competition for Mining Jobs
Many mining companies have turned to overseas workers to fill up their workforce, claiming there just aren’t enough qualified people looking for mining jobs in Perth. Even after the Australian Labour Party came to power, many mining jobs in WA were still being filled by foreign workers from the Philippines, India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States.
Currently, companies are looking for more Western Australians to work on the mines and are even willing to pay higher for a skilled tradesman.
Working as a Miner in Western Australia
There’s a very high turnover of workers in most mining companies. This is because many people go to work without knowing what to expect. According to mining recruitment agencies in Perth, below are some of the working conditions many miners experience on the job:
- The work can be repetitive and physically demanding, which means you need to be fit, both mentally and physically.
- Some mining sites are in very remote locations.
- Because of high turnover, you may not start earning big money until you’ve proven yourself as a reliable and consistent worker.
- The environment can be very hot during the day and extremely cold during the winter season.
- Be ready to undergo police checks, as well as alcohol and drug tests.
- Miners may work for 10 to 14 days consecutively.
- Typical shifts can last up to 12 hours.
Most mining camps today are very comfortable to live in. Some may have suite rooms, gyms, tennis courts, and even swimming pools. The food served is decent and there can even be a wet mess where you can enjoy a few drinks with colleagues after work.
How to Get an Edge When Applying for Mining Jobs
The increasingly complex nature of the mining process and the technology used in it has made mining jobs a little harder to apply for. Companies are looking for a much higher level of skills and expertise, including computer literacy.
Because of this, mining companies are turning to fresh graduates from high school programs for mining or technical school programs focusing on mine technology. These programs and schools are typically located in mining areas, as well. Students who finish these programs are more likely to be accustomed to the mining environment and have more exposure than others.
Below are examples of licences and clearances that are required when working on mining sites:
- Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence
- Security Clearances
- Pre-Employment Drug & Alcohol Screen Test
- Vehicle Licenses
- Audio Test
- Spirometry (Lung Function Test)
- Musculoskeletal Assessment (Fitness Test)
- Pre-Employment Medical
Is It Possible to Find Unskilled Mining Jobs in Western Australia?
From reading the section above, you may be wondering now if there’s a chance to work as a miner if you don’t have prior experience or industry-related skills. The answer is a resounding “yes.”
WA is one of the easiest places to get a mining job, although it certainly isn’t the only one. Bear in mind, however, that getting a job as an unskilled worker won’t come easy. This is because there are an overwhelming number of people applying for entry-level or unskilled jobs.
The best way to increase your chances of getting hired is to move out of your current home and live in one of the mining towns in Western Australia.
Examples of mining towns in WA:
- Kalgoorlie – Boulder
- Port Hedland
- Tom Price
- Marble Bar
- South Hedland
- Day Dawn
- Paynes Find
- Peak Hill
- Southern Cross
- Mount Magnet
- Mount Morgans
- Mount Palmer
- Marvel Loch
- Broad Arrow
- Three Springs
- Shay Gap
After you move into one of the mining towns, register with as many labour-hire companies as you can. Tradespeople like welders, boilermakers, electricians, and welders will have a good chance of finding a job. People without a trade may get a job doing a scaffolding or rigging course which can last 4 weeks long and can be expensive.
Another important consideration when applying as an unskilled worker is who you know. Don’t be afraid to approach people who are already working in the mining industry, especially if they’re someone with a high-level position. It may take a long time for you to actually get a job, especially if you’re not leveraging on your contacts. You may also be turned away several times, so it’s important to be resilient.
There’s no denying that the annual salary for miners is mouth-watering. The work itself, however, isn’t for the faint of heart. With the recent upward trend of profits in the mining industry, there are plenty of jobs available, even for unskilled workers.
If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, make use of all the resources available to you. Register with labour-hire companies, invest in courses, and consider living in the prominent mining towns. As long as you’re fit, both physically and mentally, you’ll eventually find a mining job that guarantees very decent pay for all your hard work.
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