The Minerals Council of Australia is working to entice young people to a role in the mining industry with its More to Mining careers guide.
The guide is sending the message to young Australians that there is much more to mining than big machines, hard hats and high-vis vests.
It highlights career progression, varied roles largely thanks to technology, diversity of workers (including women and Indigenous Australians), flexible arrangements and earning potential.
Mining employs 240,000 Australians and offers the highest average weekly earnings in Australia of $2721 per week, which is 64 per cent above average.
BHP mining graduate engineer Jelena Ceranic spoke about how versatile her role is and how enjoyable this made her work.
“We get to be a truck driver, be part of the blast crew and see how things happen in the field,” Ceranic said.
“You feel really accomplished doing 12-hour days, even though it is hard and long, you learn how to stay focussed for a long time.”
The guide also pointed out emerging roles to watch for in years to come, such as robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and data analytics.
In fact, the next couple of decades may even bring mining out of this world, according to University of New South Wales off-earth mining specialist Serkan Saydam.
“I totally believe that in the next 10 to 20 years space mining will happen,” Saydam said.
“Water will be the first thing mined. It has hydrogen and oxygen which can be used as rocker propellant.”
He also sees potential in mining asteroids for gold, platinum, rare earth minerals and diamonds.
But mining careers aren’t just for science and engineering minds, with a range of practical trade skills in demand, such as electricians, mechanics, plumbers and construction workers.
The top five practical qualifications mining employers look for are forklift truck operation, work safely at heights, construction and induction card, enter and work in a confined space and boom-type elevating work platform.
Key graduates the industry keeps an eye out for are engineering, geomechanics, data science and analytics, environmental and science and computer science.