Wanting a job in mining? Why not? With salaries in mining ranging up to 60% higher than those in other industries in some regions, is not surprising that so many people have decided they want a job in the mines.

There are however, a few things that you need to mull over, before making the move.

Many mining jobs will require that you live on site in a mining camp. The majority of these jobs will also work on a roster, where depending on where you are working, and what company you work for, you can spend as long as 4 weeks in a row in a mining camp. Anybody wanting to work on a mine, will need to know what to expect from this lifestyle.

The majority of mining companies will try as much as possible to make the camp as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Mining companies are aware that it is important for their employees to be happy and comfortable;  they also know that if they are not, there is a chance they will move onto greener pastures. Many mining camps will provide fully equipped gymnaesums , many depending on the region, and weather, will also provide a swimming pool, tennis or basketball courts, some even golf driving ranges. All meals will be provided for the employees, regardless of what shifts are being worked, they will be provided with meals. Although this sounds glamorous, it can be a challenge in itself, as you will be restricted to eating meals at certain times. If you are the type of person who wants to eat as and when they feel like it, and not according to specific meal times, then this can prove to be a source of frustration.

Most mining companies will also provide a cleaning service, as well as meals. The reasoning behind this, is that once you come off duty, you don’t need to worry about meals and cleaning, so your time off is a time you can relax. The shifts on mines, can be long and the work physically demanding, so it is important to be able to relax during your time off, and not have to worry about doing laundry etc. TV and internet connection will also be provided. Many mining camps will also have a leisure room with a big screen TV, and pool table, and a pub. This gives the employees the opportunity to socialise. Alcohol and cigarettes are about the only thing you will have to pay for in the mine camp, and with the salaries generally being so good, most people find that they are able to save a lot of money whilst based on site.

The reality though, is that besides from the obvious perks above, the main attraction to these camps is the salaries paid for these positions. The majority of mining employees living in these camps, earn exceptionally high wages in comparison to other industries.

There are however, also negatives that need to be taken into consideration, and one needs to weigh up the pros and cons very carefully, as this type of lifestyle is not going to suit everybody. The thing that most mining employees find hardest to deal with, is that it can be very hard living away from family and friends. There are many mine workers that work very happily in camps, but it can be hard, especially for those who have a family, and one can feel very isolated and lonely.

Working on the mines is also physically hard. The shifts are generally long, and working in remote isolated areas with often extreme temperatures can be very challenging. You may face high altitude, freezing cold icy conditions, or dry, hot desert conditions.  If you are working underground, your work environment is probably going to be hot noisy, dark and humid. The workers can find themselves feeling lonely and isolated. There are normally also strict alcohol and drug rules, and although there is generally a bar in the camp, it is unlikely that you will be having all night parties, as workers have to limit their alcohol intake in order to be fit for work, and are often subjected to alcohol and drug testing before their shift starts.

You need to keep in mind as well that location of these mine sites can also be a problem. Getting home is not as simple as getting in your car, or hopping on the bus. Many miners work far from home and a trip home can mean 2 air flights, or a long car trip. Either way, it can take you hours and hours to get home when your shift is up and you want to leave the mine camp.

Given all of the above, and if you take into consideration all of the pros and cons, and ensure you go into this environment with the right attitude, living on site can be a very positive experience, both financially, career wise and in terms of your personal growth. The bottom line is, if you are up for a challenge, and are looking for an interesting exciting place to work, where there is never a dull moment, then you cannot beat mining!!

8 Responses to “Living on a mine site – what you can expect”

  1. Antoinette Tigar

    Thank you for your excellent articles, Susan! I am a South African CV (resume) writer specialising in technical professionals. Many of my clients work in the mining sector (or are seeking expat contract work) and I am compiling a ‘portfolio’ of your articles that I send to them for further information (of course I credit you and give the URL as source). I also recommend that they join the LinkedIn group, so I hope you place some of them one day (and get the commission!).

  2. Robert Richard op den brouw

    I am normaly working offshore and when i reed your story about living in a minecamp
    its like living onboard a vessel .
    I dont go to work for a beer but to urn some money for my famely at home en try to built a nice future.
    I think sometimes its not about where you live but how you live i dont no how long
    people live in this camps and i dont have experiance with mining but i you wil you can live and work everiwhere

  3. Nathalie Delisle

    Do we have to go through agencies to get work in mining or oilsand ? I believe i would be a good candidate for living on mine sites.
    Do they hire people who have many years experience or they take some who are starting in this career ?

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Nathalie. Thank you for the comments and feedback. So far as getting work in mining or the oilsands goes, you do not necessarily have to go through an agency. There are companies that hire job seekers without using agencies. So far as to whether you need to have experience or not, that will depend on the jobs available. Many mining camp positions are for entry level job seekers, such as laborers etc, however there are jobs that they will need candidates with previous experience for. I would suggest you register and get your resume up onto the site, we have around 40 000 mining jobs on the site. Respond to as many positions as you can, and keep trying. Also ensure your resume has as much information on it as possible, in terms of your relevant experience. You are welcome to contact me, should you have any further questions. Regards. Susan.

  4. Liévin SIKI

    I find this rather an interesting way of life, a bit like an adventure. I love nature and traveling and; and so, it is exactly this kind of work that suits me. After my studies, I believe that it will be very exciting once in a real life. Thank you for your article.

  5. Ross Szwec

    Hello Susan,
    Interesting article. I am an EHS consultant that has done work in several isolated mine camps. I have seen pubs in south america, but have yet found one in a north american mine camp. The latter typically have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs. Also, with regards to travel to / from mine camps, the northern camps will often suffer delays due to inclement weather. A delayed plane after a 30 work run makes for a bunch of unhappy campers. In addition, the delay usually cuts into your off time.

  6. Lyndsay

    Thanks for this look into working at a mining site! It sure sounds like hard work. It must be worth it to get to be around all that cool big equipment all day, helping to extract the mineral resources that everyone uses and relies on every day.


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