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

  • $2,102 Weekly Pay
  • 48,800 workers Employment Size
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 98.1% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 43.8 hours Average full-time
  • 40 years Average age
  • 5.0% female Gender Share

The number of Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers fell over the past 5 years and is expected to stay about the same over the next 5 years:
from 48,800 in 2018 to 50,100 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 33,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 6,600 a year).

  • Size: This is a large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
  • Location: Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Western Australia or Queensland.
  • Industries: Most work in Mining; Construction; and Manufacturing.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (98.1%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%) showing part-time work may be hard to find.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 43.8 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 5% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
200836100
200942000
201039200
201148200
201253600
201358100
201457800
201549800
201644500
201758000
201848800
202350100

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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)
Mining88.1
Construction6.3
Manufacturing1.4
Administrative and Support Services1.2
Other Industries3.0

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 2017, 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
NSW24.331.6
VIC6.526.2
QLD33.819.7
SA3.86.7
WA27.710.8
TAS2.22.0
NT1.51.1
ACT0.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.0-5.25.2
20-244.6-9.99.9
25-3426.7-23.623.6
35-4432.5-21.721.7
45-5420.7-20.820.8
55-598.7-8.88.8
60-644.8-6.06.0
65 and Over1.9-4.04.0

Education Level

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 Certificate0-8.68.6
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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Resources and Infrastructure Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 47-5012.00 - Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 47-5012.00 - Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas.

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