Guest Terry

Anybody know the best way to enter the mining industry???

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    Guest Terry

    Hi i recently moved into Adelaide and i came here ambitous to break my way into the mining industry since i arrived i have heard alot of negativity about the industry peaple saying that with no experience you have no chance??? I am willing to do coarses and to work realy hard at it PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU DONT KNOW ETC THANKS TERRY

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    Terry,

     

    As someone who works in the field, it depends what you want to do.

     

    There are a load of jobs there, and the industry has a very 'transient' feel to it. People are not there very long at particular operations, it can and has a high turnover rate.

     

    You have jobs ranging from the general "shot crew, haulage truck drivers etc." to shotfirers, managers on all different parts of the operation (e.g. concentrator plant operator), to 'contractors' such as Thiess, Byrnecut, MacMahon, Exact Mining, Leightons, Leed, Sodexo etc. who provide all the other 'services', or as we call it, 'picks and shovels'. There is no way that say, BHP want to do all that stuff by themselves, hence, they sub-contract.

     

    Find out which mines are operating and take a look at the company websites - http://outernode.pir.sa.gov.au/minerals/mines__and__developing_projects/approved_mines

     

    e.g. BHP own the mine. One lot will come and do the underground work. One lot will supply the cooking facilities. One lot will do the site security, one lot will do the drilling, one lot will do the maintenance work.

     

    I can tell you that if you have your 'tickets' (e.g. backhoe, dozer, ripper etc.) and if that is what you want to do (operate that machinery), it is a damn sight easier to get work, because many employers are sceptical you'll just get your tickets and then disappear. Offer them a proposal based on "I work for you for 1-2 years, have the option to go permanent afterwards, can't leave before then". See how they field that.

     

    If you have other tickets, e.g. welder, fitter, truck (HGV) operator, Electrician, other trades etc. make this clear. So, what do you want to do ?

     

    Even if you can't get it at the start, be content to take the not so glamorous jobs on the pit crew, blast crew (picking stuff up and the other donkey work), driving trucks (round and round :) ) and progress upwards. Half of winning the game is 'staying' and building reputation and respect at an operation. There are also 'good' operations (which run well and have good facilities) and 'not so good' ones (which get a reputation as being bad places to work because of the conditions or just who runs the place). Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to say which are which, but you get an idea very quickly, and if you don't like it, the beauty is, you can always move.

     

    Check their websites, because that really is where a lot of the jobs are offered. With the industry being fluid, "contacts" move on, so there are, but not many, "secret jobs that are word of mouth", because if you have a mate there as the drill and blast supervisor, whispers "I can get you a job", six months later he can move on and then the new supervisor doesn't know you from a bar of soap (or the company are looking for a new D+B supervisor and there isn't one, so they have to advertise).

     

    Labour hire companies (check seek.com.au and careerone.com.au) may well have jobs available, working on behalf of the client (as above).

     

    I do know of people who have limited to no experience, and yet, still work there. You have to be a bit flexible (as I gather you are), keen (again), you just need someone to give you a chance, and if you can put in a good solid block of work on it, it will stand you in good stead. Even 2 years will look good, because it is a tough, hard industry at the best of times and you have to have guts to work in it.

     

    If you are a young, single lad with no ties, it is a really good way to make a lot of money, set yourself up for life (as long as you don't blow it all, like many of them do on holidays to Bali, booze and brand new utes etc. on their weeks off). It is not easy, you will work hard for your money on 12hr shifts, plus weekends, in the heat and dust and it can be dangerous work, so do not be under any illusions...but you will learn a lot and grow immensely.

     

    Best of luck mate ! :)

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    Guest Barney Rubble

    Top post Leyland CJ

     

    Think i'll stay here with my mint sauce though :elvis:

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    Guest Terry
    Terry,

     

    As someone who works in the field, it depends what you want to do.

     

    There are a load of jobs there, and the industry has a very 'transient' feel to it. People are not there very long at particular operations, it can and has a high turnover rate.

     

    You have jobs ranging from the general "shot crew, haulage truck drivers etc." to shotfirers, managers on all different parts of the operation (e.g. concentrator plant operator), to 'contractors' such as Thiess, Byrnecut, MacMahon, Exact Mining, Leightons, Leed, Sodexo etc. who provide all the other 'services', or as we call it, 'picks and shovels'. There is no way that say, BHP want to do all that stuff by themselves, hence, they sub-contract.

     

    Find out which mines are operating and take a look at the company websites - http://outernode.pir.sa.gov.au/minerals/mines__and__developing_projects/approved_mines

     

    e.g. BHP own the mine. One lot will come and do the underground work. One lot will supply the cooking facilities. One lot will do the site security, one lot will do the drilling, one lot will do the maintenance work.

     

    I can tell you that if you have your 'tickets' (e.g. backhoe, dozer, ripper etc.) and if that is what you want to do (operate that machinery), it is a damn sight easier to get work, because many employers are sceptical you'll just get your tickets and then disappear. Offer them a proposal based on "I work for you for 1-2 years, have the option to go permanent afterwards, can't leave before then". See how they field that.

     

    If you have other tickets, e.g. welder, fitter, truck (HGV) operator, Electrician, other trades etc. make this clear. So, what do you want to do ?

     

    Even if you can't get it at the start, be content to take the not so glamorous jobs on the pit crew, blast crew (picking stuff up and the other donkey work), driving trucks (round and round :) ) and progress upwards. Half of winning the game is 'staying' and building reputation and respect at an operation. There are also 'good' operations (which run well and have good facilities) and 'not so good' ones (which get a reputation as being bad places to work because of the conditions or just who runs the place). Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to say which are which, but you get an idea very quickly, and if you don't like it, the beauty is, you can always move.

     

    Check their websites, because that really is where a lot of the jobs are offered. With the industry being fluid, "contacts" move on, so there are, but not many, "secret jobs that are word of mouth", because if you have a mate there as the drill and blast supervisor, whispers "I can get you a job", six months later he can move on and then the new supervisor doesn't know you from a bar of soap (or the company are looking for a new D+B supervisor and there isn't one, so they have to advertise).

     

    Labour hire companies (check seek.com.au and careerone.com.au) may well have jobs available, working on behalf of the client (as above).

     

    I do know of people who have limited to no experience, and yet, still work there. You have to be a bit flexible (as I gather you are), keen (again), you just need someone to give you a chance, and if you can put in a good solid block of work on it, it will stand you in good stead. Even 2 years will look good, because it is a tough, hard industry at the best of times and you have to have guts to work in it.

     

    If you are a young, single lad with no ties, it is a really good way to make a lot of money, set yourself up for life (as long as you don't blow it all, like many of them do on holidays to Bali, booze and brand new utes etc. on their weeks off). It is not easy, you will work hard for your money on 12hr shifts, plus weekends, in the heat and dust and it can be dangerous work, so do not be under any illusions...but you will learn a lot and grow immensely.

     

    Best of luck mate ! :)

     

    Nice one mate thanks alot for your information this has made me more determined to chase it down thanks.. Ive been looking on seek and carreeerone and they seem to be just offering to experienced contractors in specialist areas.. Ime a qualified plasterer and a qualified intruder alarm engineer so these trades arnt guna help me towards it soo i want too start from a low position n hopefully work my way to having a speciality I would start at the very lowest maybe a shovel and graft happily for 12 hours a day could u give me anymore information on these lower jobs that obviously mean less experience needed to get started and less qualifications Thanks

    Terry

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    Hi Terry,

     

    Probably the easiest way (and the direct way you've been employing) is to try direct with the 'picks and shovels' suppliers themselves (mentioned above). I would also go to their website, not just the 'mine operators'. Many times, a site (or just the operation) can be that big, with so many people doing their own little things (just like a construction site), that people do not talk to each other about who or what is needed. Throw in the fact that one half of the workers can be offsite on leave at any one time and communication / "go-ahead" for things can lag greatly. (that's why, during the overlap, when everyone is on site and changeover is happening, it is absolutely mad because people are trying to talk face to face about what they need to do or hand over !)

     

    However, as I said, work out what you want to do - do you want to drive a truck ? Then ask for that. Do you want to be on the 'drill and blast' (charge crew) ? Then ask for that. Sounds funny, but sometimes, you have to 'do the thinking for them' because sometimes, they don't know what or who they want and you have to tell them - "You need drivers, I can do it, give me a go". As you read, some of them are pretty bad at talking to each other internally.

     

    The lowest jobs are usually the ones like the "crew hands" (throw in prefixes like "drill and blast", "maintenance", "plant" and you'll get into the various areas, especially if you talk to the prefix-"manager" or prefix-"superintendent"), where you will literally "pick stuff up so that the truck doesn't run over it and burst a tyre" - mind numbing but still very important.

     

    Even if they don't (think they) need anyone, ask nicely if you can talk to their top (wo)man at whichever operation over the phone - he or she will call the shots as to who is needed there or might know of someone who is looking for people. You will probably achieve more if you can do this "asking" bit in person or over the phone, because a letter or email could / can / does usually go anywhere except where you want it to.

     

    (Yes, I will admit...women make for VERY good operators on the minesites and I respect them a lot, especially as vehicle / plant operators because they don't feel the macho need to thrash the guts out of their rig, so treating it nicely and imposing less maintenance on them :) )

     

    I wouldn't discount your trades - you can at least show that you can learn and have transferable skills. Some of those who have worked on the mines (in their various stages, e.g. commissioning, first dig, processing etc.) were completely "unskilled" (no quals past high school, no trade) because the mine just needed labour and they were locals from the nearest country town (we are talking up to 100km away).

     

    It's not 'bad' to have 'no idea' of what you want to do, but it would help them and you immensely if you went and said "I know you have the contract for this minesite here, do you have any vacancies on the charge crew or for truck drivers ?". It will help your 'staying power' because you have a reason WHY you are doing it and what for. I have seen many people leave six months into a site, citing "I'm bored", when really, they had no higher sense of purpose as to why they are doing it. Even if that is because "I want to save $300,000 for my kids education", "I want to pay my house off" or because you want to prove to yourself you can do it for a 2 year stint, that's a reason. I know of guys who drive the trucks and while waiting to get loaded, have photos of their kids, family or of their house in their cab or their locker, to remind themselves of why they are doing it tough, in 45c heat in the pit, the flies and the dust.

     

    Again, an hour or two spent poring over the companies and what they actually do in terms of 'supplying the picks and shovels' will help immensely in talking their language. You wouldn't go to Spotless and ask to speak to the Drill and Blast superintendent, likewise you wouldn't go to MacMahons or Thiess and ask if they needed anyone in the Wet Mess.

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