Underground Miner Jobs

Our planet is rich with minerals that are buried deep below the surface. Mining is the only way to access those minerals. It’s a trade that has existed for thousands of year and will be here for thousands more. There is a constant demand for underground miners to man these mines.

Underground miners risk their lives to extract valuable minerals and transport them to the Earth’s surface. They work as deep as 3.9 kilometers underground in mines that have up to 2,400 kilometers of tunnels and shafts.

Underground miners spend the majority of daylight hours working in a dark, damp, cold, noisy world to bring us minerals like coal, silver, nickel, platinum, copper, diamond, gypsum, salt, or zinc.

Coal Miner Section Photo

Underground mining happens all over the world – South Africa, England, Chile, Russia, Canada. One of the main types of underground mining is coal mining. The United States produces 17 percent of the world’s coal. There are coal mines in Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Mining companies first have to discover deposits. Then they estimate the amount of extractable minerals and the potential profit. If all looks good, the mining company will develop, operate, and recover the ore. Finally, they will attempt to return the land to the original condition so erosion, sinkholes, chemical leaks, and water contamination will not occur. Mining is a tricky, challenging, and lucrative process. Note – if this job is enticing then review our oil rig roughneck jobs page for something similar but perhaps slightly less dangerous.

Mining is incredibly dangerous. After a mine is established, miners drill holes and use explosives to create shafts and tunnels to access the ore. They travel deep into the mines to extract the minerals. Heavy machinery and explosives in confined places is a risky combination.

Rock fall, explosions, poor air quality, and cave-ins are all common hazards. Miners can develop many health disorders, like black lung from breathing in coal. Deep in the earth, gases can mix into deadly combinations. Without proper ventilation and gas monitors, gases become deadly. Miners are also subject to tunnel collapses, leaving them trapped beneath the earth. The muffled sounds of trapped miners usually make international headlines. Fatalities are common.

Safety precautions are an absolute must. Proper ventilation, electrical equipment, stronger radio communications, and gas monitors keep miners safer. Safety checks for dangerous gases, constant air supply, roof supports, and explosives are also necessary. Some mines even spray the walls with limestone so they are less likely to cave-in, but accidents continue to happen.

Apply for jobs with large mining companies like Rio Tinto or Anglo America. Check the mining company’s safety record. A good mining company will provide training on mining equipment, methods, and safety techniques. Miners should start in training mines and in the classroom before they set foot in a real mine.

Then they should work with an experienced miner to learn the trade. Some miners receive training at universities.

There are 100,000s of jobs in the US mining industry alone and a constant need for qualified underground miners. The risks are great and mining is statistically one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. The mining industry is not a very green job, but it is a job that is never-ending and brave souls are always needed to travel beneath the earth to extract important minerals.

Mining is a bizarre career. It takes a certain type of person to assume the numerous risks of mining. Could you work all day without seeing the sky? Could you be alert every minute in a cramped, cold, dark, world? If so, maybe mining is the career for you.

The average rate of pay for a miner is $23.01 per hour, or $54,236 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Quick Facts About Mining Jobs

Job Title: Underground Miner
Office: Under the Earth’s surface
Description: Extract minerals and transport to surface
Certifications/Education: No formal education required, Training is recommended
Necessary Skills: Able to work in dark, damp, and deep places
Potential Employers: Mining companies worldwide
Pay: $23 per hour, $54,000 per year

Helpful Links:
National Mining Association
Mine Safety and Health Administration
United Mine Workers of America
United States Mine Rescue Association
National Mining Hall of Fame

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