Career Profile: Miner
Imagine a very dangerous job where most of the work happens underground. Working as a miner is a difficult but very necessary job. Miners go deep into the ground to dig out gold, copper, zinc and many other metals that we use every day. Without miners, our world would be a very different place. If you don’t mind dangerous and often dirty working conditions, you might want to take on this essential job.
In Canada, about 400,000 people work in mining and related industries, and almost half of the money people make in some provinces comes from mining. Some of these people work above the ground with processing minerals, but many of them work down in the mines, cutting into rock walls and digging out the minerals that they find.
Even if you have never been in a mine, you probably know something of what happens there. Many of the substances that we use come from deep inside the earth, often buried in rock. Gold and silver from the ground can become jewellery, but they also have many other uses in manufacturing and medicine. For example, copper is often part of the wires that carry electricity or the pipes that carry water and other things that we use every day, such as coins. Everything that has metal in it comes from the ground, and much of it comes from the work of miners.
The work that miners do is very important, but it is not easy. They have to know how to use various types of equipment but also be in good physical condition to carry heavy loads or push large machines. Miners work with all kinds of rock and metal, and accidents are common. Another problem is breathing down in the mines. Sometimes, miners who work underground for many years develop diseases from breathing in the dust from the different kinds of rock. Working underground can also be very hot, and miners have to be careful not to get sick in those conditions. The work is hard, but it can also be good for people who like physical labour.
The difficulty of this kind of work also means that miners are fairly well paid. Generally, miners earn between $15.00 and $35.00 per hour, which is between about $32,700 and $115,400 per year. The requirements for becoming a miner can vary from one company to another, but a high school diploma from a vocational school is usually necessary. The vocational training should include studies in mining procedures and also information on how the industry works. Certification for using different tools is also useful.
It can be difficult to know what the job is really like before starting to work in a mine, but getting as much background information as possible is helpful. You might not be able to practice working in a mine before you actually get a job, but you can prepare yourself for this dangerous but very necessary career.