What you need to know about working in mining

So, you’re thinking about a job in mining. That’s exciting! It’s likely you’ve been fascinated with the sector for some time and now is your opportunity to get your hands dirty – probably quite literally.


You might want to one day own a mine of your own. But it’ll take a while before you’re there. You’ll need to understand the ins and outs of running a mine. You’ll need to learn exactly what goes into making a mine successful. And you’ll need to understand what documentation, including a business plan and permits, you’ll need to apply for mining equipment finance.


As you no doubt already know, mining is a major part of the South African economy. The supply of services and supplies to the mining sector leads to a significant amount of activity in South African mining towns.


“The country’s stock exchange in Johannesburg was established in 1887, a decade after the first diamonds were discovered on the banks of the Orange River, and almost simultaneously with the gold rush on the world-famous Witwatersrand,”  says the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.

“In many ways, South Africa’s political, social and economic landscape has been dominated by mining, given that, for so many years the sector has been the mainstay of the South African economy. Although gold, diamonds, platinum and coal are the most well-known amongst the minerals and metals mined, South Africa also hosts chrome, vanadium, titanium and a number of other lesser minerals.”


There’s no doubt there’s a lot you’ll learn in your first years of working at a mine. Here’s some of what you need to know.


It will be challenging

There’s no doubt about it. Working in mining can be challenging. You’ll spend many hours in the hot sun, working harder than you ever have in your life. The reality is that mining is not for everyone. If you’ve decided to be a miner, you already know that. You know this is no cushy 8am to 5pm office job. You know that you’re going to work hard. You might even wish to be sitting in that air conditioned office after a long shift at the mines.

It will take up a lot of your time

You can expect to have long work days. You can also expect to work many night shifts. Working at a mine is not about fun and games. The likelihood is you’ll be working long hours while you’re working at the job site. In addition, you might have to move depending on where the mine is located. This could mean having to leave your family at home or relocate your entire family. Many mining companies do not have the usual working hours which you might have become used to in the corporate world. You’re going to have to become used to new routines and habits.

It will be physically demanding

Aside from the mental pressures of being away from family and working long hours, working in mining will be tough on you physically. You’ll likely spend many, long hours underground. Make sure you’re ready for these demands of the job by exercising regularly and eating a little more healthfully than you usually would. Your body will thank you for making these lifestyle changes.

There are many perks

While mining in South Africa tends to have a negative reputation based on the many accidents in recent years, there are perks to the job. And that’s why so many people want to work at mines. Miners across the world earn good wages. They are also beneficiaries of benefits packages which include medical and pension assistance. These are certainly beneficial perks while spending your working days underground and facing possible danger. In addition, mining companies are usually very generous in giving employees time off to compensate for the long hours and weeks spent on the mine.

It does contribute to society

There is much negativity about mining and its ecological impact on the world. But the reality is that it does positively impact the world too. Think about mining for metals. We need those for the architecture being created around the world. There are ways to mine sustainably so it’s important the necessity of these practices are emphasised. Mining equipment must be properly maintained to ensure these are able to work correctly. It’s likely that you don’t know exactly how much mining equipment costs. And you don’t want to know by being forced to buy replacement equipment. Your employer might think it’s a good idea to buy second-hand equipment. But you don’t know who worked on the equipment before and you don’t know whether they properly maintained it. That’s why you need to be careful and investigate its past in depth before committing to a purchase.