Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers assemble, position and operate drilling rigs and mining plant, and detonate explosives to extract materials from the earth and demolish structures.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Around one in four workers have a Certificate III/IV. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be required.

Tasks

  • dismantling, moving and reassembling drilling rigs and accessory plant
  • taking samples of ore, liquids and gases and packaging them
  • performing minor maintenance and repairs, and lubricating and cleaning plant
  • recording performance details and information obtained from wells, and keeping logs detailing operations
  • operating surface and underground mining plant
  • undertaking development work such as opening up new shafts, drives, air vents, rises and crib rooms
  • positioning explosives in bore holes and priming explosives using detonators and explosive cartridges
  • connecting wires, fuses and detonating cords to explosive cartridges and detonators, and detonating explosives
  • monitoring operation of plant and ensuring safety of other workers on mining sites and during drilling operations
  • operating auxiliary plant such as pumps to expel air, water and mud

Job Titles

  • Driller, or Drilling Plant Operator
  • Miner, or Mining Plant Operator
  • Shot Firer, or Powder Monkey
  • Driller, or Drilling Plant Operator

    Assembles, positions and operates a drilling rig and related equipment to extract ore, liquids or gases from the earth. Registration or licensing may be required.

    Specialisations: Directional Driller, Exploration Driller, Jumbo Operator, Power Tong Operator, Raise Drill Operator, Rig Manager, Rock Drill Operator, Stope Miner, Tool Pusher

  • Miner, or Mining Plant Operator

    Operates plant to excavate, load and transport coal, ore and rock in an underground or open-cut mine. Registration or licensing may be required.

    Specialisations: Bogger Operator, Coal Cutter, Dragline Operator, Opal Miner, Underground Truck Operator

  • Shot Firer, or Powder Monkey

    Assembles, positions and detonates explosives at a mining or demolition site. Registration or licensing may be required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $2,102 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    Certificate II or III
  • Employment Size

    48,500
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    93.9%
  • Female Share

    6.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    97.8%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 48,500 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
A fall in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • While there are jobs in many parts of Australia, Western Australia and Queensland have a large share of Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers.
  • They mainly work in: Mining; Construction; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 42.9 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $2,102 per week (very high compared to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200527800
200635500
200733400
200840300
200940000
201042800
201155300
201253000
201360300
201454800
201548500
202036200

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings21021230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersAll Jobs Average
Full-time97.868.4
Part-time2.231.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)42.940.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Mining87.7
Construction5.1
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services2.1
Administrative and Support Services1.7
Other Industries3.4

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersAll Jobs Average
NSW25.131.8
VIC2.425.5
QLD36.719.8
SA3.46.8
WA28.611.2
TAS1.62.0
NT2.21.1
ACT0.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.45.4
20-243.5-9.99.9
25-3429.0-23.423.4
35-4431.7-21.721.7
45-5424.0-21.121.1
55-597.4-8.78.7
60-642.8-5.95.9
65 and Over1.7-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males93.9Males53.6
Females6.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationDrillers, Miners and Shot FirersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree3.5-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma7.2-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV24.6-18.918.9
Year 1222.8-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1032.9-17.717.7
Below Year 108.9-8.18.1

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job.
Around one in four workers have a Certificate III/IV. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers who are reliable, committed to the job and have a good work ethic.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Mechanical

    77% Important

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  2. Mathematics

    75% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  3. Administration and Management

    67% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  4. Education and Training

    64% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  5. Personnel and Human Resources

    62% Important

    Recruiting and training people. Managing pay and other entitlements like sick and holiday leave. Negotiating pay and conditions.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    91% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  2. Controlling Machines and Processes

    89% Important

    Operate machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  3. Handling and Moving Objects

    87% Important

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

  4. Performing General Physical Activities

    85% Important

    Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

  5. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    84% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

Occupational Information Network Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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