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A lighthearted look at essential mining skills

A lighthearted look at essential mining skills < >

  • August 4, 2017 | 6:15 am
  • Life,Mining Employment

I recently came across an article highlighting essential life skills every person should have to live a successful life. I thought it was a pointless article but it inspired me to come up with a list of essential skills and a tongue-in-cheek explanation on how to be successful in a mining career.


A well-established and well-connected network is a proven winner for jobseekers in all industries. Good networking skills ensure once you are on site, you get along better with your colleagues. This helps you enjoy the great facilities on-site while working 12-hour days and sleeping for up to eight.


Sites change owners more frequently than people outside of the industry realise.  Those in the industry have been known to joke that companies should just Velcro logos onto shirts to save money on replacing all the work clothes each time a site changes hands. Don’t get too comfortable with your teammates; they may not be there next roster. Being able to adapt to changing management styles, work with different people and cope in a changing and dynamic landscape is a must.

Mechanical aptitude

Mining is driven by equipment, from the drill rigs in exploration through to the trucks carting the ore. A basic understanding of machinery is a must. I’ve heard tales about people in the city not knowing where their spare tyre is located, so knowing how to change your own tyre could put you ahead in the application stakes.

Great time management

Mining is driven by procedures, processes, meetings and schedules. A well-run mine thrives on routine meetings where improvements are discussed and, hopefully, action is taken. Tasks are usually assigned to the person with the least amount of spare time -possibly when they are about to go on holidays – so juggling time in any role becomes critical.

Team work

No matter what department you work in on a mine site, you have to get along with people. It’s even more important if you are on shift with them because they can become your workmate, your dinner date and potentially your golfing buddy when you’re on R&R.

Physically fit and healthy

I’ve worked on sites where half the population of the site didn’t even know we had a gym, or for that matter any facilities external to those run by the catering staff. Either they had someone else complete their pre-employment medical, or they were too busy (net)working (see above) to get past the dining room and wet mess.

All joking aside . . .

The above are all great skills to have, and are certainly applicable for entry-level roles in the mining and resource industry. Other skills and competencies I would add to the list include;

– Communication skills

– Problem-solving

– Self-sufficiency

– Reliability

– Chemical awareness

– Safety mindedness

– Environmentally aware

– Good computer skills

– Spatial awareness

Minedex has a lot of fantastic information for anyone looking to get a start in the industry. All the content is free. 

Jesting aside, now is the time to begin looking for an entry-level role. Some of the larger miners in Western Australia have announced up to 400 trainee type roles are on offer in 2018. Here are links if you want to stay updated with these announcements.

BHP Jobs

Rio Tinto Jobs

Until next time,