Mining support worker

What they do

Mining support workers assist in operating equipment such as continuous mining machines or mineral ore processing plants. They assemble and dismantle mining equipment, load and unload tools and materials, load chemicals into ore processing plants and clean and wash equipment. They may also gather ore, rock and dust samples.

In Western Australia, mining support workers may work in many parts of the State from the mineral sands mines in the South West, coal mining in Collie, gold mining in the Goldfields, to iron ore mining in the Pilbara and Midwest regions.

Working conditions

Mining support workers often work at mines in remote parts of the State and must be prepared to live on-site away from home or work on a fly-in, fly-out basis. They may work in above ground or underground mines and conditions can be hazardous. They must follow workplace health and safety standards and wear protective clothing to minimise any associated risks.

Mining support workers may work long hours involving shiftwork, weekends and public holidays.

Tools and technologies

Mining support workers use mining equipment such as continuous mining machines or mineral ore processing plants. They maintain fluid pumps and conveyor belts, mix ore treating chemicals, and maintain and drive four-wheel drive vehicles. They must also wear personal protective clothing (PPE) such as reflective clothing, steel-capped boots, hard hats, goggles and earplugs.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a mining support worker you usually need to undertake a traineeship in metalliferous mining operations (processing) (level 2), underground metalliferous mining (level 2), extractive industries (operations) (level 2) or process plant operations (level 2). The traineeships usually take between 12 and 18 months to complete. The process plant operations (level 2) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship. 

Alternatively, you can also gain a qualification in process plant operations. The Certificate II in Process Plant Operations is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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