Toughest Jobs In Mining

(5 votes)

Mining is one of the toughest industries in which a person can work.

Australian mine sites are located in some of the harshest environments known to man. 

That said, of course there are the more ‘cushy’ jobs on a mine-site, but if one looks at the mining industry as a whole one quickly comes to the conclusion that mining is definately a hard task master. 

If you haven't seen the film There Will Be Blood or the “Coal Miner” episode of the TV series Dirty Jobs, Google “toughest jobs in the world” and you see that a lot of people consider mining far from a cakewalk.

Indeed, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recently named mining labourers as one of the most dangerous occupations a person can do. 


Mining can be a risky occupation and to reiterate this point there have been serious accidents in various mines across the globe throughout the years. 

So what is it about mining that makes it challenging? According to one FIFO worker, Jesse Dux, making sacrifices for the job is part and parcel of mining.

“It’s tough being away from people. To be in the mining industry you gotta be willing to sacrifice a lot of social occasions just so you can get the work,” said Jesse.

“Every week you feel the pressure - you gotta leave your friends and everyone.”

But Mr Dux was quick to point out that being a miner certainly has its rewards, and not just the fiscal ones.

“It’s good just being outdoors. I couldn’t be in an office all day doing my thing,” he said.

That said, recent research reveals that employee turnover rates for FIFO workers is quite high. 

According to one HR superintendent, interviewed as part of the aforementioned Workforce Turnover study, the life span of a FIFO miner averages out to be approximately three to five years. 

The study points to the monotonous nature of some mining jobs, as well as long periods of boredom, as significant factors that makes mining too challenging for some.

According to another recent report from the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the high attrition rate for FIFO workers equals one third leaving the job each year.

Even the Government commissioned an inquiry into why mining has higher rates of ‘employee mobility’ or turnover compared to a range of industries (such as: retail, communication, health, manufacturing and education). 

The inquiry revealed that brutal work hours as well as conflict between ‘home’ and ‘work’ life are top of the list when it comes to what makes being a miner one of the toughest jobs.

When asked about how he copes with the challenge of the job, Jesse mentioned the collegial nature of the mining industry.


“You've basically got a separate family out there. You go out there and they would take the shirt off their backs to help you out and that’s how you get through it,” said Mr. Dux.

“We’re all out there to earn a bit of money and we’re all just one big family, sorta like a home away from home,” he said.

Working in the mining industry certainly has its pitfalls but those who dig in and work hard are sure to extract the rewards.

What are the toughest jobs in the Australian mining industry?
We came up with this list: 
- exploratory mining
- tyre fitter
- pump operator/technician ("pumpies")
- coal miner

let us know in the Minetalk forums:


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Minetalk Poll

Is the mining boom in Australia over?

Is the mining boom in Australia over?

No, it's just media hype.
Yes as a result of lower demand.
Still plenty of resources.
There will be a second boom.
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