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Mining work

What to expect working in the mines

Could you hack it?

So, you’re doing your research, working out whether a job in the mines is for you or not. Maybe you’re looking for a career change, up-skilling from a solid trade base or maybe you’re just starting out – whatever the reason, mining can be a lucrative career choice. 

And whilst the draw of stellar salaries is a big factor, a job in the mines comes with some tough conditions – literally and metaphorically. 

The Work Rosters.

FIFO, DIDO & Residential.

You’ll have come across terms like FIFO and DIDO by now – Fly In, Fly Out and Drive In, Drive Out. There’s even ‘Residential’ roster options. By far the most common is FIFO work, mainly because the mines are located in very remote places, not easily reached from main hubs, like Perth in Western Australia. And so mining companies have to ‘fly-in’ the resources they need to operate the mines. 

These ‘periods’ are referred to as ‘swings’. The most common is a 2 week on, 1 week off swing. In essence, this means you’ll fly to the site, work your swing and then fly home for your downtime before beginning your next swing. 

FIFO mining work is often described as a lifestyle given how much it dictates you and your family’s lives. The benefits of FIFO work include generous compensation packages, the extended breaks and the fact you can be based more or less anywhere. All big plus factors to FIFO work. The downsides are the travel between each swing and the fact you’re away from family and friends for extended periods of time in isolated places. 

Other Roster Options.

DIDO & Residential.

Other options are: DIDO – Drive-In, Drive-Out. Pretty similar to FIFO, this roster is usually for mines located 2-4 hours’ drive away from the nearest towns and cities. It still requires on-site swing work, as the distance is too far for a daily commute, but it means that ‘home’ is a little more accessible. 

The other option is a residential based role. This is usually only an option for the bigger mines, like the ‘Super Pit’ in Kalgoorlie in WA, but mining companies often look on their doorstep as a first port of call for the resources they need. This option, of course, requires re-locating to live in the mining towns which is a fairly big commitment and a lifestyle in itself. However, it brings with it a different set of ‘pro’s and con’s’ to a FIFO or DIDO roster. 

Mining work: Life on-site.

What can you expect? 

You’ve arrived on-site, so, what can you expect as you settle in for your swing? 

This can vary between sites. And whilst we’d like to say, ‘be sure to ask for information on facilities and living quarters’, landing a job in a mine is pretty difficult and so as the old saying goes, beggars can’t often be choosers. Unless that is, your craft is in super high demand and you have plenty of mining experience under your belt!

Expression Of Interest

We are seeking a range of local candidates in the WA Goldfields for present and future work at our Kambalda operations.

These are excellent times to join a company going places. Click to discover more!

Find Out More!

HD Fitter Job Perth

Are you looking for a HD fitter Job in Perth? Come and work alongside some of the best in the industry in our purpose built workshop in Maddington.

Full time roles, great conditions and rewarding work. if that sounds like you, click here to apply!

Find Out More!
working at mine in Australia

On-site Facilities.

Living on a mine.

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. And this is true of the mining industry. So, put yourself out there, attend industry events, meet-ups and job fairs to try and build your contacts and meet people who might be able to open doors to potential roles for you. Use your network – or find networks through social media or local groups – to tap into these communities to see if they can help you get a foot in the door. 

Another option to consider would be to either visit or relocate to a mining town. Recruiters tend to look on their door step as a first port of call for their resourcing requirements. So, being where the action is means that you’re either first in the queue for the role you’re after, or mingling with the locals, in the bar or at the local footy game, means you might just end up meeting someone who can help open doors for you. 

And then make use of a recruitment agency. Many have specialist teams looking to place hundreds of skilled candidates in to mining roles. They will also be able to help with advice on what qualifications, tickets and experience are required. While these guys are the middle-men, they are also a critical step into the HR teams at the mine, itself, and so it pays to make sure you work just as hard to impress these guys as it does putting your effort into perfecting your CV. 

Down on the mine.

Tough conditions.

You probably don’t need us to tell you that a job in the mines is not for the faint hearted. The hours are long, working 12 hours shifts, 7 days a week – often alternating between a day shift and a night shift. Which all adds up to around 84 hours a week.

Then add in the brutal conditions. Dusty, desolate, blood-red landscapes resembling the remote wilderness, coupled with the searing heat in the day and freezing temperatures at night, make for incredibly challenging working conditions.

Mining work in Australia

Mining life.

It’s a way of life.

Mining work requires you to be in peak condition as the physical toll on your body can be a real challenge. And let’s not forget the mental pressure of the long hours, repetitive routines and the feelings of isolation as you’re parted from family and friends for extended periods of time. Mental illness, particularly depression, is a real issue for FIFO workers that is, thankfully, well recognised and supported by mining companies today. 

So, it’s a tough path. But the rewards can far outweigh the struggles. Whilst securing a job is not an easy task, once you’ve bagged yourself a role, salaries can range from $120,000 to $300,000+ a year, with many people see a mining career as a short-term – even fast track – route, to earning big and achieving a specific goal. Others see it as great career, working their way through the ranks and taking advantage of opportunities, both at home and abroad.

So, we started asking, ‘could you hack it’? 

The FIFO mining life is just that, a way of life. It’s tough and certainly not for everyone. However, there’s much to be gained from choosing a career in mining. The great salaries, the career opportunities at home or away, the extended time with family and friends and the lifetime friendships. 

Some would say that this is more than worth it.

For more information on a career in mining or the current job vacancies available at Pit N Portal, visit our mining jobs page

working at mines