This is always a “how long is a piece of string” question. While the daily or hourly rates are good, the hours need to really add up to hit the six-figure salary listed above.
Consider that as of May 2018, the pay rate for a Driller’s Offsider is approximately $365 a day. If you work Monday to Friday, for 260 shifts a year, that’s $94,900 per annum.
Or, on the same rate on a two week on, one week off roster, that is 34.7 weeks a year worked, or 243 days, or $88,695 per annum.
On the above pay rate, you would have to work 286 days in a year to reach $100,000! That is 5.5 days a week.
If you work 12-hour days, Monday to Friday (260 x 12), that equals 3,120 hours per annum. To hit $100,000 per annum, your hourly rate would need to be $32.05
On a 2/1 roster, working 12-hour days, you’ll work 2915 hours in a year. The hourly rate needed to hit $100,000 is $34.30.
To give you a gauge, potential entry-level mining jobs are currently paying
– Nipper – $300 – $380/day
-Day Crew – $280 – $350/day
-Field Assistant – $300 – $350/day
-Drillers Offsider – $350 – $380/day
As you can see, you will need to work a lot of days to achieve $100,000 a year.
From personal experience it is the people you meet and know in a town like Kalgoorlie who can best help you get a ‘foot in the door’ in the mining industry. And from the responses I got to my research for this article, nothing has changed in the 30 or so years since I started in the industry.
According to our recruitment and mining industry contacts in Kalgoorlie, it’s about living locally, having a willingness to give anything a go and proving your reliability.
Being in town, applying to local recruiters, drilling companies, and shutdown and maintenance companies is a good way to start.
You can get to know people in town through sport, at the local footy game, the local walking group, or at the pub on a Friday night. Whatever works for you. The person standing next to you won’t care what you do for a living. But you may well be standing next to the person who can influence a hiring decision in your favour.
The one exception to the above is if you have one of the trades required by the mining industry. These are Electrical, Mechanical, Light Vehicle Mechanical or a Boilermaker Welder. Each of these trades are required in the majority of mining towns in Australia, and most employers are willing to provide the training to upskill a LV Mechanic to an HD Mechanic, for example.
While there is good money to be earned in a mining town such as Kalgoorlie, you have to work hard for it. And, don’t forget, the cost of living is higher. In particular your first electricity bill during summer can bring on bill shock, but groceries are also more expensive because of the cost to transport them 600 kilometres from Perth.
Finally, remember that mining towns (not just Kalgoorlie) are not for everyone. Before you pack up and move, do your research. This list we wrote back in 2016 still applies today.