Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers
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.
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
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 75,900 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 95% of people employed as Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 29 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 62 hours per week in their main job. This is 18 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $2,494 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $2,149
- 1 in 4 earn more than $3,082
Median hourly earnings are $54, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers||All Jobs Average|
Around 80% of Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia and Queensland have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers is 41 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 7% of the workforce. This is 41 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.4||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not usually required to work as a Driller, Miner or Shot Firer. Some workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in a relevant mining field.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Resources and Infrastructure Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||27.5||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers who are reliable, committed to the job and have a good work ethic.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
48%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
46%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
41%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
39%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
37%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Fixing machines or systems.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
36%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Looking for ways to help people.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Teaching people how to do something.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
32%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
32%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
31%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
30%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
29%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
24%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
24%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
20%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
15%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
6%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Tell the difference between sounds.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Quickly choose the right movement of the hand, foot, or other body part when there are two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures).
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
See details that are far away.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
84%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
74%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
74%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
72%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
71%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
70%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
66%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
65%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
64%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
57%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
56%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
56%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
54%Working with electronic equipment
Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing electronic devices and equipment.
49%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
48%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
47%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
46%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
45%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
45%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
39%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
100%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
100%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
99%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
97%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
95%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Work near dangers like high voltage electricity, flammable material, explosives or chemicals.
91%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
89%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
Work with people in a group or team.
85%Cramped work space
Work in an awkward position or in cramped work spaces.
85%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
84%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
81%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
79%Bright or inadequate lighting
Work in extremely bright or dark lighting conditions.
78%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
77%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
77%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
77%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 47-5042.00 - Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Operators.