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Heavy diesel mechanic in the mines; the right job for you?
Mining is one of Australia’s greatest and most iconic commercial activities. Steeped in rugged tradition, located in typically in-hospitable environments, the sector makes and sometimes breaks the hard-working heroes that keep the literal and metaphorical wheels, turning.
With over 300 working mines sprawled out across Australia, it’s an industry of vital importance to the economy. That fact is true in terms of revenue generated by International exports, along with business and work opportunities created in metropolitan and regional communities.
Due to the relatively low cost of diesel fuel and the huge amount of power that a diesel engine can generate, they’re in virtually every piece of heavy duty machinery on the mines, from the drill rigs to immense earth-moving machines. And for logistical efficiency, diesel is then also often used to power accomodations, offices and other smaller, on-site, machinery and light vehicles.
Heavy-Diesel Mechanic's are always in high demand
There is no surprise that diesel mechanic job openings are posted all the time, particularly in Western Australia, where around half of the mines are located. Mining companies are constantly on the hunt for experienced machine, light vehicle and heavy vehicle diesel mechanics with a trade certificate. However, while the demand is high and heavy diesel mechanic salary is pretty good, the conditions will vary, dependent on skills and experience.
Read on to get a better idea if a job in the mines as a diesel mechanic is the right thing for you!
Here's a few things to expect when working in the mines
Both specialist and generalist HV mechanics work on many, (often hundreds), of different types of diesel engines in a workshop or out in the field.
The over-arching goal is to make sure the beasts run safely and efficiently, 24/7. This means that work centres around emergency break-down repairs, through to highly managed preventative maintenance. Particularly in the harsh and difficult underground scene, underground diesel mechanic jobs are never-ending because the mining equipment is subjected to rough treatment round the clock.
Usually, working in teams, your day-to-day job will include trouble-shooting problems using state of the art diagnostic tools, real-time maintenance software and onboard computers.
Additionally, you'll be:
Given that mining machines and fixed plant are essential to mining production, speedy repairs and maintenance work to prevent a breakdown is critical to keeping operations running smoothly at all hours of the day and night.
We are seeking a range of local candidates in the WA Goldfields for present and future work at our Kambalda operations.
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With such a skilled role, comes a very healthy pay packet.
Heavy-diesel mechanics in mines can earn in excess of $120,000 a year and specialist and experienced key workers, upwards of $200,000.
Those salaries, however, aren’t earned easily. Getting a job in the mines or working with a Mining Services Company such as Pit n Portal will require you to have qualifications and skills. You’ll be expected to have completed your mechanic's trade certificate and in most cases undertaken extra study, such as a cert III in heavy machinery.
Additionally, mining recruiters are also looking for people who can display the following characteristics:
While you may have heard all about the top paying diesel mechanic jobs and FIFO opportunities, the reality is that a job in the mines is not for the faint-hearted. Firstly there’s the ‘roster’ to consider. You’ll spend an extended period of time ‘on-site’ before time back home with family and friends.
The most common ‘swing’, (as they’re known) is 2 and 1. This means 2 weeks ‘on-site’ and 1 week ‘off-site’. The actual hours on-site can be gruelling, working 12 hours a day,7 days a week – often alternating between day and night shifts. While most camps have modern facilities and try to make things as comfortable as possible, you'll be working in conditions that will require you to be on your toes to keep you and your workmates safe.
Conversely, the rosters afford you extended periods of time with family and friends to do things that many in 9-5 jobs don’t get the time to do. The rosters also mean the camaraderie on-site is second to none, given colleagues are your family whilst you’re on a swing – life-long friendships are often formed. And then there’s the career progression that a role in mining can offer – climbing the ranks or perhaps working overseas – all readily available once you’ve started on the mining path. It’s a career choice that needs consideration but one that can be highly rewarding on many levels.