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Advice for a new Career in Mining ?

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Hi there,

Just wondering if someone out there could give me a sort of career advice?

After living for a year in Perth while on a Working Holiday Visa in 2012 I became interested in the mining sector/way of life. At the time I had no formal qualifications. I came back to the UK and graduated in Mechanical Eng with a First-Class Degree in 2018. Got a job as a Field Service eng. for a biotech company but the idea of "going underground" never went away!! Not to mention that the salary for Engineers in the UK is just very low (I have friends packing boxes at Amazon - with overtime taking more money home than me!! )  I am now 33 currently going through a mid-life crisis - single, no house, and not many friends! I feel like now is the perfect time to take action and leave the country! (of course, covid has caused some delays) but hopefully, the borders should re-open by next year!

Anyone out there working within the mining sector in WA (Trades or engineering)? How do you see the future of mining in Australia? - It seems that everything is going autonomous with potentially a lot of demand for robotics, automation, and AI... I am looking at a Masters's Degree at Curtin in Kalgoorlie ( I know is not the place to live but there is a possible scholarship to relocate there)! 

Much Appreciated!


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Posted (edited)

In terms of automation, it will drop the amount of boneheads needed, but as the machines are remotely controlled from Perth or wherever as soon as a light comes on they get parked up and the fitters have to go see them and whack them with a hammer - no crew to do diagnostics on board, so trade qualified staff are in increasing demand.  It's only haul trucks and I think some of the larger rotary shovels are being automated: graders, scrapers etc are as far as I know still using operators.  I know people who are setting up the systems in Queensland and they take *a lot* of setting up - one bloke I know has been at the same mine for at least 5 years trying to get it underway.

Mining in Australia is not going away and there is always going to be a need for qualified professional staff and mech eng is needed for the basic day-to-day; upgrades and installations etc, not necessarily the futuristic things like full automation; I've been doing mine geotech and longwall design for 17-odd years now and there are no indications that the sector is slowing down.  Saying that, there don't tend to be massive numbers of engineers full time on site, not compared with tradies (and if listening to Fitter OH's complains are anything to go by, they are just there to make impractical changes to his machines and get in the way, but anyway...) But many consultancies have specific mine-related staff who specialise in the area too so there's always that option. 

Edited by Eera
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Hi Eera!

Thanks for your comment! Agree! Mining will have some up and downs but will never go away! I found some Youtube presentations about the Automated gold mines in WA - mind-blowing stuff! I will send you over my CV - Resume in "Australian English" I think!  when I complete the Degree then! 😉  Cheers 

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