Mining jobs. $$$?

Hi all,

I’ve been told by some people that a way to make some good money (if you’re prepared for a hard slog) is to join mining company as a basic field assistant. I have “heard” that the pay is excellent, and accommodation is provided as most mine fields are in the middle of nowhere.

I am considering doing this for a year to end some of my financial worries, but the questions are… are the claims true? Is the money any good? Is it possible to get work in a mine with no specialist qualifications?

And finally…

Where do I go to enquire about such work?

Thanks in advance.

From what I know, the claims are basically true. The pay is high, but the work is hard, dangerous, and the days are long. I found this website fairly quickly (google for “mine employment”) it might be a good start for you.

Good luck!

This page has information for undergrads interested in mining careers, but if you follow the links (like the one for Earthworks) you’ll come across job listings as well.

When you say you have no specialist qualifications, I assume that means you aren’t a geologist or engineer. What about mechanical skills - can you drive/repair heavy machinery, for example? I’m not sure if you prefer to stay in Australia, but if you do I think it will be hard to find a position without some marketable skill. A mining company is not likely to hire someone who can’t immediately contribute to the (often small) community at hand, especially since the Australian mining industry appears to have been struggling for some time now. I’ll grant that a lot of the complaints I heard were coming from people looking specifically for geologist/geotechnical type jobs, though, so YMMV.

If you’re seriously considering going to work for a mining outfit, look very carefully into the specifics of each given situation, and consider whether you would be mentally up for it as well. Hardship pay isn’t given only because of the work - as you noted, mines are often in the back of beyond, and you have to consider whether you might go out of your mind with boredom in the isolation. I visited two mines in South Australia back when I was a grad student (mid-90s), a coal mine at Leigh Creek and a copper mine at Mt. Gunson. Leigh Creek wasn’t too bad, as the mine supported a small town of about 2,000 (the largest town in the area, as it happens :wink: ), but still a long way a population big enough to support a real variety of activities. (IIRC it was about 6 hours’ drive to Port Augusta, another 6 on down to Adelaide.) Mt. Gunson was, however, truly in the wilderness. A night out for the guys there entailed a half hour or so drive to Pimba, a tiny truck stop & restaurant that, at the time, could only claim fame by close proximity to the base at Woomera (now a detention center?). Housing at Mt. Gunson consisted of a series of trailers, and there was a sort of “commons room” where the guys could watch TV. It was definitely a minimalist existence.

Of course, if you want a retreat from the world while you work on your finances, this sort of situation might suit you just fine. Just think about it carefully, is all I’m saying. :slight_smile:

Having spent a summer working in mine I can tell you to think long and hard about it. I got on working for a coal mine because I was a sophomore in mining engineering. Let me assure you of this; it’s a damn different breed of people that work underground. The work is hard, the days are long, and the hours are there if you want them. As to whether or not you make good money I would say it all depends on the person. I mean a typical day is 8 hours but in the coal mine that I worked at you were there for more like 10-12. You have to wait until a crew comes in and relieves you so that eats up time, also you then you have to consider time where you get dressed and shower on the way home. There is no doubt you will be dog tired when you get home either. At the coal mine I worked at we also had to work every other Saturday. The money was 15.50 per hour, but the midnight boys got a little bit more than the days swingers. Also keep in mind that the mines that pay the most after often union which means for a new member you are going to have to pay the iniation fee, start up clothes which will easily cost you 200 + 250 for union + 50 per paycheck if I am remembering everything correctly. All in all I would say that for 1 years work you should be about to make 30K for a mining job (in Illinois). The work really isn’t too bad you sure as hell get hot, dirty, cut, rocks fall on you, oil splattered, breathe in dust; it isn’t like working above ground that’s for sure. Well I could keep going on and on about coal mining, but I will just leave you this: A coal mine is the only place on earth where the devil isn’t below you, he’s 30 feet above ya. That little nug of information came from a guy who worked in the mines for 30 years and believe me it’s true. I saw a dead man come out of the mine from a heart attack and I saw a fall in a main entry that would have wiped out anybody around it. So think long and hard about the coal mining field, but if you wanna do it best of luck. You deffinetly respect your cash and don’t worry about getting greased :cool: Also sorry this is so short and choppy, but if you have any other specific questions just let me know.