Red Flags for Hardrock Mining Employers

Caution! The following information will upset people, it is however the truth, if an uncomfortable one, so sorry in advance and I do acknowledge that there will be exceptions that have got jobs despite the Red Flags, but they are few and far between.

As a new starter to mining, the advice you take and then use, has a direct outcome on the result you get. Unfortunately, there is some common advice, that ends up making it harder for a new starter and often red flags the hardrock underground mining recruitment system. Currently there is only one area of mining that has to hire new starters, that’s hardrock mining. Coal in QLD and Iron Ore in WA, while they both offer a small number of trainieeships each year, this has more to do with reducing wages than anything else.  As both Coal and Iron Ore still have 1000’s of experienced people looking for a job after the 2012-13 downturn. The only area hiring new starters en mass is hardrock in either underground or exploration.

The mines are Australia wide, as are the jobs and need for people. How the industry goes about hiring people and who decides who gets the job, isn’t exactly what happens in other industries here in Australia. It’s important to understand that it’s the onsite Mining Department that decides who gets hired or who doesn’t. HR will place the ads, collect the resumes, coordinate interviews and the hiring process, but its Mining that decide who. Why is that so important to know? It’s not the HR red flags you have to worry about, it’s the Mining ones. It’s these mining Red Flags that end up stopping people from moving forward with employment.

Red flags to Mining

Mining tickets

The S11

Big resumes with cover letters

Stealing and fighting charges

Shutdown work

To understand how the Red flag’s affect your chances of employment, you need to understand what’s going on from the Mining Departments point of view. Let’s take them one at a time.


The Mining Act in WA (which other states have drawn from and developed Their own stanards) requires the employers to prove to the mines department inspectors that they have trained all employees in the jobs they have to do on the mine. This means onsite ticketing that cannot be transferred. So when you try to tell them that you have your “Mining Truck Ticket” you are telling them that you have no idea about the job you are applying for. Most of the tickets offered up are national construction tickets or those issued in Oil & Gas and can't be used by hardrock mining employers. Bottom line,  the national ticketing system for mining can't be used by any of the hardrock employers, they have to do their own.

S11 or Standard induction

It’s an induction that is required to work on a Queensland coal mine site, that’s it. You can’t use it on a NSW coal mine site and it definitely won’t help you get a hardrock job, not even in Queensland. When you send your resume in with the S11 front and centre as the reason to employ you. It instantly tells the hardrock employer that you don’t understand the system and worse that you have been misled without doing your research into hardrock mining. Just give a hardrock mine in NSW or WA a call and tell them you have done your S11 and see what you get back “S what???”. It’s not an industry standard just a QLD requirement for Coal.

Big resumes with cover letters

For years I have watched the onsite decision makers in the hiring of new starters bin any resume more than 4 pages or one with a cover letter. I know lots of people will see this as being unprofessional, but this isn’t about changing the system. It’s all about understanding the system so you can make it work for you. When your resume makes it to the desk of the on site decision maker you have about 6 seconds to impress. You either know something about mining or you don’t. That’s why people that have completed our online training get interviews and jobs, where as people that have done truck tickets and the S11 don’t get anything, often not even a response that the employer got the application.

Stealing and fighting charges on police clearances

All hardrock mines now require a national police clearance that the employer will/should pay for. These clearances are conducted by the AFP and ASIO and is done because of the explosives used on site. Any stealing or fighting charges no matter how long ago will see you fail. It’s always a hard no to these offences, sorry I know this is not what people want to hear. I have seen so many people marched off site when their clearance came back months after starting. It made no difference if they were doing well at their job, straight off site. People are kidding themselves if they think it’s going to happen any other way. Again sorry its not what people want to hear.

Shutdown work

Shutdown work leads to more shutdown work, not mining work. Only a handful of people today will be able to make this jump and this has more to do with the actions of their predecessors over the last 10-20years than anything else. To say shutdown workers aren’t exactly welcomed on site by the senior members of crew and the mining bosses can be an understatement for many sites. Often viewed as a problem waiting to happen, the list of people working on shutdowns that make a complete dick (for want of a better word) of themselves, having to be removed from site, is unfortunately a very long one. With their actions, being responsible for a lot the “nanny state” rules found on many mines. These actions have left most with a coloured view about shutdown workers (rightly or wrongly) this is why people can’t make the jump. With most mining bosses have been burned by a dick shutdown worker that they have hired in the past, because of that they will never hire another one again. This is why it’s almost impossible to go from shutdown work to mining work. Shutdown work only leads to more shutdown work.

I know this information is going to upset lots of people, as I said at the start, this is not my intent. It doesn’t make the information any less true either and it will explain to many why they aren’t getting a result. It is what it is, it’s how the system works and if you want to get in, then you need to understand what the employers want and what they will respond to.

In hardrock mines all over the country, employers respond, interview and hire people that have completed this online training in the form of our Introduction to underground mining or our Workready packages because the training teaches the new starter the exact jobs they will have to do on site. That’s why employers, respond, interview and then hire, our students. Our students can answer the mining questions, and when you can do that in the interview the employers hire. Check out our Wall of fame page to see who’s got a start.

Mining coach


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