The South Australian mining industry employs 8,000 people which is 1% of the State’s workforce. The mining industry has numerous projects occurring and planned in South Australia.

Employment in the mining industry is located either at a mine in a regional area or at a company’s head office in Adelaide.

People with specialist skills may be offered a fly-in, fly-out arrangement from Adelaide to the mine site.

Job openings for skilled workers

Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operator

Driller, Miner and Shot Firer

Metallurgical or Materials Technician

Mining Engineer

Quick facts about this industry

  • Science and maths are important to train and work in this industry.
  • Almost everyone works full-time.
  • When working on a mine site, people may be expected to work 12-hour shifts for 14 days in a row, followed by five or more days off.
  • Workers must be 100% drug and alcohol free to work on a mine site.
  • Most people have either a trade qualification (certificate III or above) or a university degree.
  • Most of the workers are men but the number of women in the industry is growing.
  • People are generally younger than the average age of the South Australian workforce.
  • You need to be over 18 years old, physically fit, committed to safety and willing to work in remote areas under difficult conditions.
  • Professionals and specialists in the mining industry earn at least $2,000 per week, which includes wage bonuses for long shifts and isolated locations.

School options

Ask your Vocational Education and Training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website for training options in:

  • Mining and civil

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure Work Preparation
  • Certificate II in Underground Coal Mining
  • Certificate III in Mining Exploration
  • Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response and Rescue
  • Certificates II – Diploma in Drilling with specialisations in on shore and off shore oil and gas
  • Certificates II – IV in Resource Processing
  • Certificates II – Diploma in Surface Extraction Operations
  • Certificates II – Diploma in Underground Metalliferous Mining
  • Certificates II and III in Civil Construction
  • Certificate IV in Civil Construction with specialisations in operations and supervision.

See courses related to this industry.

University disciplines include:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Mineral geoscience
  • Mining engineering
  • Petroleum engineering
  • Petroleum geoscience

Explore university courses offered in South Australia, including courses from:

For more information about university courses visit South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) or for information about student satisfaction visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Apply to study

For application information for South Australian universities and some TAFE SA courses, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

For subsidised training enrolment information, see Enrolling in subsidised training.

For more information, call the Infoline on 1800 673 097.

Occupations in this industry

Mining involves extracting minerals such as coal and ores, gases and crude petroleum. It includes activities at mines, quarries, oil wells and gas wells as well as mining support services such as drilling.

A mine has a number of stages that determine the types of jobs available including:

  • exploration — involving drilling, surveying, geology and testing core samples
  • feasibility — involving engineering, administration, finance, project management and environmental management
  • construction — involving shotfiring, earthmoving, truck driving, engineering, mechanical and metal trades work and labouring
  • operation — involving mining, plant operation, truck driving, mechanical work and labouring
  • shut down — involving engineering, mechanical and metal trades work and labouring
  • rehabilitation — involving environmental management.

Drilling assistants help move, set up and operate drilling rig equipment to drill holes for oil, natural gas and water. They also build foundations, explore for minerals and investigate sites.

Miners operate equipment to excavate, load and transport coal, ore, mineral sand and rock. They work either underground or in open-cut mines.

Shotfirers assemble, position and detonate explosives to break or dislodge rock and soil or to demolish structures.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Building and engineering technical support, construction and mining labourer, geological technician and technical field assistant, mine manager, miner, miner’s assistant, shotfirer, civil and structural engineering associate, civil engineer, civil engineering draftsperson and technician, civil engineering technologist, construction manager, diesel mechanic, earthmoving plant operator, electrotechnology assembler, fabrication engineering tradesperson - fabrication, industrial engineer, or metal trades assistant.

Related industries for these occupations

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information.

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