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Mining Jobs in Australia

a young male miner at work in an open pit with the text Mining Job in Australia - Backpacker's Guide

The Ultimate Guide

Mining jobs in Australia are well-paid with potential for those willing to earn big bucks.

While it’s possible to get a mining job in Australia (even in downturns) a lot can depend on your experience, qualifications and “tickets”.

For those without experience of any sort it is more challenging but not impossible. 

In this guide, I will provide uncover all you need to make finding a job in the mines easy as possible.

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1. Why Work in the Mines in Australia?

You may have heard from a friend who is working or has worked in the mines and made a lot of money. Indeed, I have made a lot of money working in the mines.

Here are my top four reasons why working in the mines here in Australia can be advantageous.

After seeing all the great benefits of working in the mines in Australia, let’s go through how you can find yourself a mining jobs in Australia the next section.

2. What Qualifications or Experience Do I Need?

There are qualifications required to work in a mine in Australia, and they vary depending on the type of role and mine. In addition to traineeships and apprenticeships, there are pathways through vocational education in mining and drilling. You may also require special vehicle licences, as well as security and medical clearances. A National Police Certificate, a Pre-Employment Medical, and a related vocational course are some of the common requirements for most mine sites. Depending on the role you are applying for recruitment agencies, or the mining companies should have the most accurate and up-to-date information for what you need.

2.1 Qualifications & Experience

The experience required to work in a mine in Australia varies based on the sort of role and mine you wish to work in. Having Qualifications in Engineering, Construction, Geology or mining will make it a lot easier to find a job in the mines in Australia. Having a trade is also a very useful skill for the mines and will be useful when looking for a mining job. Of course, if you don’t have the right experience you can still look for entry level positions.

2.1.1 Tickets

To do certain mining jobs, you are required certain licences and training, which we often refer to as a ‘ticket’. Depending on the role you obtained, there is a huge variety of tickets for working in the mines in Australia. Some of the tickets are very expensive to obtain, and not all tickets are valid in different states.


It is better to secure a job first and obtain the tickets that are required for the job to save yourself time and money on irrelevant tickets. Having tickets can however be an advantage to gaining employment.

2.1.2 White Card

At a minimum it is worth getting your Construction White Card in Australia. It will be very useful for finding other construction-related jobs during your stay. The White Card is cheap and easy to get. See the detailed guide on  how to get a White Card in Australia

3. How to Get a Mining Job

There are qualifications to get a mining jobs in Australia but you don’t necessarily need to have experience. In this section, I will provide the best ways to get a mining job in Australia.

3.1 Establish Connections

Talking to people who work on mining sites can be very helpful, especially if you don’t have any experience or qualifications. I got a job in the mine through someone who works there. For you, it would be great if you could contact expats from your country who work on mining sites. They can tell you who to contact and what to do.

Ask as many people as you can, often at hostels there is someone who has been working in the mines or knows of someone who has worked in the mines. Getting the contacts of the right people to talk to will save you a lot of time.

3.2 Contact Recruitment Agencies And/or Labour Hire Companies

For a recruitment agency to consider you, you will need to have a skill, trade, or qualification. If you don’t have a particular skill, trade or qualification then contact labour hire agencies in the mining town you’re thinking of going to.

3.3 Go to the Mining Towns

It is probably not a good idea to travel to the other side of Australia, just to get to a popular mining town. There are mines all over the country, so find out which ones are near your current location and visit them. If you find the mine you visit isn’t employing anybody at the moment, be sure to ask them for some contacts of other mines that are hiring. The mining towns are small and everyone usually knows one another, they will know exactly who’s hiring or needing help.

3.4 Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

Sometimes luck can help. This can be the case for a lot of entry-level mining jobs, but you will may need a lot of patience and a little luck.

3.5 Shutdowns

Shutdowns are exactly as the word suggests. Now and then mining sites need to shut down for upgrades, maintenance, or repairs and they usually hire people temporarily to work during shutdowns. A lot of the work is unskilled and doesn’t last very long, so it’s great for backpackers who want to keep on travelling and don’t want to make a full-time commitment. It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door and gain valuable on-site experience and tickets.

3.6 Women Working in Mines Australia

Don’t believe that because you’re a woman, mining businesses and recruiters will overlook you. Australia’s mining industry is becoming more gender-neutral. It’s not just cooking and cleaning jobs on offer for women either; more and more women are working on Australian mining sites, and in some cases, companies even prefer women for certain jobs. Driving a dump truck, for example, is a common employment for women on mining sites because studies have shown that women are softer on multi-million dollar equipment while still getting the job done.

4. What are Conditions Like

If you have never worked on a mine before, you are probably wondering what it’s like to work on a mine in Australia. In most people’s lives the only knowledge they have of working in a mine is what they see on Movies and TV (I was the same until I met someone who works in the industry). Let’s go through what you might expect from working in a Mine in Australia.

4.1 Conditions on Mining Sites

Conditions on mining sites can vary greatly, depending on the site, your role and your employer. A lot of Australian mines are very remote, so most shifts will work on a FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) basis, where employees will work a certain amount of weeks and then get one week off and are flown out of the mine and back into the city.

4.2 Advantages of Working on a Mining Site in Australia

4.3 Disadvantages of Mining Jobs in Australia

4.4 Before You Go to Work on a Mining Site – What to Expect

4.5 Advice from Miners

To give an idea of what it’s really like to work in the mining industry in Australia, we interviewed three miners.

Alan, 33, from Ireland

It was about 8 years ago when I was backpacking. I have a trade as a mechanical fitter, so it was easy to get a job as there was a serious shortage of tradespeople at the time. These days if you have any kind of engineering, mechanical, or electrical degree, or if you are a geologist, you can pretty much just walk into a mining job, with no problem.

Entry-level or unskilled jobs, like trade assistants (TA’s) or plant operators, are hard to get now as every man and his dog are applying for them. The best way to get these jobs would be to move out to the little mining towns and live there and register with all the labour hire companies, there are hundreds of them.

Trades people like fitters, welders, boilermakers and electricians still have a fairly good chance of picking up work on mining sites. If you don’t have a trade, doing a rigging or scaffolding course would give you a good chance at getting a job, the courses are only about 4 weeks long, but they are fairly expensive.

Tickets for forklift operating, confined space and working at heights would give you a foot in the door.

On most mining sites now the camps are really good. They have en suite rooms and TVs; the food is good; and all the camps have gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and a wet mess where you can have a few drinks. On some of the older camps, the accommodation isn’t so good, but it’s still better than some of the backpackers I’ve stayed in.

Weather conditions are always stinking hot, except at night time during winter months when it’s cold. It’s always dusty and there are always lots of flies buzzing around your face, which is very annoying. The work pace is fairly relaxed though, so you can take plenty of breaks and rehydrate on the really hot days. It doesn’t take long to acclimatise to the heat anyway.

Daniel, 29, from Australia

I applied for the job at the local paper. I was unskilled at the time, the company I worked for put me through a metalliferous mining course, so yes it was an entry-level job.

I work at a residential mine, so that means you don’t live on-site, you drive to work and bring your food and live in your own house. But, I have heard FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) mining is really good. Also, all mine sites are dusty and can get very hot.

If you have some experience, apply for everything you can, because at the moment it’s very hard to find a mining job in Australia.

Rowan, 27, Ireland

I have worked for a few different mining companies and I got each job in a different way. When I first got to Australia I put an ad on Gumtree explaining everything I could do. It was just luck that a bloke rang me and directly offered me a job with his drilling company.

When I got the job working for an engineering company it was posted in through the company’s HR department. I have worked for two different construction companies as well and I got those through friends.

It depends on who you know, what you know and how many times you don’t mind being turned away because it can be pretty hard to get a job in the mining industry.

Below is an interesting video. Some good advice, although the guy who makes the video recommends Western Australia exclusively and there are LOTS of mines in Queensland in particular but also in other parts of the country. For more in-depth information on many of the topics covered read above!

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