Why New Starters can’t get into Iron Ore or Oil & Gas

If you are trying to get into mining today as a new starter, then you have to look at hardrock underground mining as your best and only real option. To understand why, you need to know what has happened to all these different parts of the industry in the last 10years.

First, Iron Ore.

When the price dropped at the end of 2012, some of the major companies took the opportunity to reduce costs by culling a whole crew off each site. They did this by going from a week on, week off roster, to 2 & 1. Instantly putting 1000’s of experienced workers out of a job. This has meant that the handful of jobs, that come up over the years, have 1000’s of experienced workers all applying, trying to get back in.

This makes it almost impossible for new starters to break in, why would you hire a new starter when you have so many experienced people to choose from? BHP runs a new starters program every now and then, but the rest will only hire experienced people, often through labour hire companies, for a lot less than the full time employees make. Some people have been on labour hire for years now with one of the big company’s.

Then you have oil and gas. It’s even harder,

There have been 3 large natural gas processing plants built in the north of the country that employed 20,000 plus to build each plant. Now they have moved into production, these plants only take 1200-1500 people to run, a fraction of the number it takes to build one. The 2 plants in the north of WA filled these jobs in 2016, with the one in Darwin filling all their roles at the start of 2018. This means that if/when a job comes up there are 10,000’s of experienced people applying. Yes, lots of people left WA once these jobs finished, but lots stayed, and those are the ones the employers will have to choose from.

It just makes no sense for an employer, having the choice of experienced people, to hire a new starter, it just doesn’t happen. Which brings me to hardrock underground, it has just come out of the biggest downturn (2013-16) in 40years. This obviously meant no new starters, people with 5 years and more of experience were taking nippers and truck jobs just to get work. This down turned a lot of people out of the industry that will never come back. Yes, people got other jobs, but for a large number in their 50’s its meant early retirement (and not in a bad way) with a big payout.

Fast forward to 2018 and because of batteries and gold, all the mines that closed in the downturn are being fired back up. It first picked up in 2016 and by 2017 anyone that knows anything about hardrock mining that wants a job has one. This is the point that employers are forced to hire new starters. With only just over half of these mines back online, employers have no choice but to hire new starters. They have been doing this for more than 12 months now with the normal results.

As more mines open, it only spreads the experience thinner and this has led to all the major companies increasing wages for most jobs in the last couple of months. This is why, if you want to get into mining, the best place to apply is where new starters are being hired and that’s in hardrock underground mining.

If you want to know how we can help, check out our new starter pages or fill in the link, good luck, hope you get the job you want soon.


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