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How to get a start in the mining industry

These questions and answers apply generally to the Australian mining industry. If you already have experience in the mining industry but now wish to consider working in another part of the world, then speak with one of our consultants for specific advice.

Do MPi offer entry level positions? How do I get a foot in the door?

We do find it difficult to place entry level people into the mining industry. We find that most of our clients need experienced employees to hit the ground running to replace someone who recently left. Due to time restraints, safety issues, and to keep production at a maximum, they need experienced personnel. There can be exceptions here, where in regional locations (for instance via our Kalgoorlie office in Western Australia) we sometimes place people into entry level roles. Usually this will occur where you have already made your way to Kalgoorlie.

We find the best way to get a start in the industry is to contact the mining companies directly, or if possible look at relocating to one of the regional mining centres. In Western Australia for example the most obvious one is Kalgoorlie. In NSW the Hunter Valley and in Queensland the Bowen Basin regions have several major regional towns which act as large employment bases for the mining industry. There are often a great deal more opportunities for inexperienced people based in these centres, rather than trying to get a fly in fly out position from a capital city at the outset. Usually any roles that do become available are entry level traineeship or graduate roles and each company has their own procedures and recruitment area for these roles.

Below are a few options to get you started. Firstly it would be advantageous to complete the following (the names may vary from state to state):

  • A MARCSTA (Mining and Resource Contractors Safety Training Association) induction is a step in the right direction. Please note this usually applies for more trade-based roles and we advise you to seek the company requirements before committing to a course.
  • A HR-X licence (truck licence) and a current drivers licence.
  • A Mine Workers Health Surveillance (MWHS) test. This is a hearing and lung function test and everyone in the Western Australian mining industry is required to have one. The MWHS is conducted by a medical clinic and is arranged by your employing company upon successful job offer.

Most sites will require you to have some if not all of these tickets before you will be considered for employment, however it is worth finding out the company procedures and requirements before committing to what is often costly and time consuming courses.

Some other job sites that also may be helpful are:

Are there companies that will train me to drive trucks etc?

For entry level Mobile Equipment Operator positions (Truck, Road Train, Dump Truck etc) a HR-X licence is usually a good start as this is a basic requirement of any operator position. However, with regards to specific training most companies have their own requirements and training, so it is advisable to check this before signing up for training courses.

Usually internal training and entry level positions are advertised either directly from the company or as traineeship programs. We strongly advise contacting companies direct and keeping an eye on advertisements for these type of roles.

I am a graduate looking for my first role in the resource industry.

Most larger companies usually have a graduate program set up with a certain amount of places available. We would recommend getting in touch with companies that you are interested in early as these programs can be competitive and places highly sought after. A clear and concise CV with any academic credits or related work experience is also usually required.

Occasionally we have graduate positions available, however the reality is that often companies use their internal recruitment systems to process these sorts of applicants. Taking up work experience in your chosen field during study is often a good way to get a foot in the door with companies that you would like to work for.

What are the minimum requirements/qualifications that I require to start work on a mine site?

Not all sites require the same qualifications. It is best to check with the company offering the position, and their requirements/qualifications needed for the role, before obtaining further tickets.

Site requirements can include vehicle licences, security clearances and medicals.

Vehicle Licences - Most mine sites require you to hold a current Australian manual drivers licence. You will need to check whether this is a requirement of the role.

Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence - Check first whether this is a required qualification of the role before committing to the costs of obtaining this licence.

MARCSTA - MARCSTA's General Safety Induction (Work Safely) was developed to provide a standardised accredited induction for employees of contractors and other employees moving between various sites.

This training program has become recognised as the benchmark reflecting constantly changing practices, standards and regulatory requirements and is reviewed annually by the mining industry, OHS training providers, equipment suppliers and the regulatory authorities.

The program ensures compliance with duty of care responsibilities and includes important current health issues which every employee should be aware of (please note this usually is more relevant to trade based positions and we do advise that you find out specific company requirements before committing to training). Go to: www.marcsta.com to search for Training Providers near you.

Security Clearances - Some mine sites will have different pre-employment security measures based on the type of mineral they are mining and their location in Australia. Should you be considered for a role through us, we will advise you if you will need to obtain any of the below:

  • In WA, mine sites mining gold will require the WA Police - Gold Stealing Detection Unit (GSDU) to conduct a search of the applicant's criminal convictions history for any previous fraud prior to allowing them onto site. This search is generally paid for by the mining company with results going to them. However, we carry these forms on behalf of our clients.
  • Throughout Australia, some mine sites will require the applicant to have a National Police Certificate (NPC). Each state may have a different process for obtaining these so it is best to ask your local Police Authority how to get one. In WA, a NPC lists the disclosable criminal history information on a person. Further information can be viewed and forms downloaded, from the WA Police website www.police.wa.gov.au/OurServices/PoliceChecks/NationalPoliceCertificates/tabid/1339/Default.aspx.
    All forms must be printed and completed before being lodged in person at an Australia Post outlet (NOT the Police Department). They cost $53.70 and can take up to a few weeks to come through and will be posted to the applicant. Validity: WA Police imposes no period of validity on NPCs; it is up to employers and organisations to determine the currency of a NPC they will accept.
  • Should you be going to work for an employer situated on Commonwealth Government Land then you will need to obtain an Australian Federal Police National Police Check: www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/police-checks/national-police-checks.aspx#contact. The fees for these start from $43 and can take from 15 working days to come through depending on the depth of the check.
  • Other state-based security checks.

Medical Requirements - A Pre-Employment Medical and other requirements are conducted upon successful job offer. All candidates are to fulfil site medical requirements before they are allowed to work on a mine site. The pre-employment Drug & Alcohol Screen must be completed within 14 days of arriving at the mine site. If the result is older than 14 days, you will be required to perform the screen again.

Pre-Employment Medical - The Pre-Employment Medical consists of questions that determine your medical condition and fitness to undertake the duties of the role. You will be required to answer questions in relation to your:

  • Lifestyle
  • Physical Condition
  • Personal Health History
  • Previous Employment History
  • Age / Weight / Height
  • Blood Pressure / Heart rate

Current photo ID must be presented to the clinic.

Drug & Alcohol Screen - All sites require you to pass a screen before you are accepted to go to site. While on site, this screen is conducted randomly on a regular basis. The Drug & Alcohol Screen is supervised at all times by medical staff.

Mine Workers Health Surveillance (MWHS) - All Western Australian mine sites fall under the regulation of the Department of Mines and Petroleum. Under the regulation of this government body, it is a requirement that all employees on mine sites in Western Australia complete the health surveillance testing after a period of employment. The MWHS consists of a Lung Function Test (Spirometry) and a Compliant Audio Test. You will also be required to answer questions in relation to your previous employment history. A MWHS is to be renewed every 5 years.

Audio Test - An Audio test will provide accurate assessment of hearing and hearing loss, to assist in determining your fitness to perform the duties of the role. A period of 16 hours quiet time (free from noisy work sites, light plane travel, loud stereo use etc) is recommended to provide an accurate result.

Lung Function Test (Spirometry) - A Spirometry assessment gives an estimate of your lung function and capacity. It may determine if respiratory issues (such as asthma) or lifestyle factors (such as smoking) need to be addressed.

Musculoskeletal Assessment / Fitness Test - This assessment examines your full range of movement, strength and physical capacity. You will be required to provide information on existing or pre-existing injuries.

Please note that with Pre-Employment Medical Results and Drug/Alcohol Screens the results are only considered valid for a certain period of time before they are not considered current. Therefore, we strongly suggest finding out site requirements before organizing any tests to be done. The most common situation is that once you have been offered a position you are then required to complete the Medicals and Drug/Alcohol Screen - the results of which are used as confirmation of suitability for the role and ability to work. Completing these tests prior to seeking a job does not guarantee that you will be offered a role, so the information provided is on the basis of educating you on what is expected of you.

Getting your foot in the door with an entry level position

We do find it difficult to place entry level people into the mining industry as our clients need experienced employees who are ready to hit the ground running. However, in regional locations we sometimes place people who are already based there into entry level roles.If possible you can look at relocating to one of the regional mining centres such as Kalgoorlie, the Hunter Valley or Bowen Basin to grasp such opportunities, rather than trying to get a fly in fly out position from a capital city at the outset.

Our best advice on getting a start in the industry is to contact the mining companies directly, as each company has their own procedures and recruitment area for any entry level roles that do become available.

Graduates/Work Experience

Occasionally we have graduate positions available; however larger mining companies usually have a graduate program set up with a certain amount of places available. Work experience in your chosen field during study is often a good way to get a foot in the door and again, companies set up their own programs for these types of roles. We would recommend getting in touch with companies that you are interested in early as these programs can be competitive and places highly sought after.

Sponsorship and visa information for non-Australians

Rules and regulations for working in Australia are governed by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and are quite complex. Because of this we are unable to give you accurate advice. We suggest that you have a look at the Australian Immigration website - www.immi.gov.au. However, there are two ways in which we may be able to help you get work in Australia:
  1. If you were to come out to Australia on a temporary working visa AND you have mining skills and experience we may be able to find you work.
  2. Getting sponsored by your employer: We do not do this directly, and mining companies will generally only do this for senior roles or for people with specialised or hard-to-find skills as it is quite an expensive process. We suggest you contact some of the major Australian mining companies directly as they may be able to give you more advice.

I would like to enter the professional sector of mining. Are there any websites I could visit that may assist?

Yes, the following websites represent tertiary institutions that run specialised mining industry courses:

In addition to this, there are major universities in most Australian capital cities also running mining industry courses, either for 1st and 2nd year or, in some limited cases, for the full course length. The list above though is a good start.