This article follows on from the earlier article titled “How to find Australian mining jobs with a long-term future” .
The focus was on discovering how to find mining careers where demand was high for specific metals.
Discovering which commodities (gold, nickel, silver etc) are in high demand
A recent article on the 2014 commodities that were in demand highlighted the upturn in the global demand for raw materials.
This article indicated which metals were in demand at present and pointed to a few metals being highly sought after in the future.
Owing to the age old business benchmarking of ‘supply and demand’, we decided to track nickel as it was the best performer in terms of price and volume.
Nickel mining in Australia
Let’s just say with the demand for nickel increasing and a strong price expected to be maintained, nickel mining seems a good opportunity to develop a long-term mining career.
The following formula can be applied to any mining activity, whether it be iron ore, coal, silver or gold – the process is still the same.
A history lesson in tough times
Let’s follow the journey of Ben. Ben has some underground experience in mining as a drillers assistant, but he is concerned that his job might not last as there have been rumours that the mine he is working in isn’t performing too well.
Ben being the optimistic kind of guy he is, refused to be affected by the news that mining jobs are hard to get and everything is going down the toilet.
He also recalled a conversation he had with his grandfather who told him about the era of the ‘great depression’, when there was hardly any work in any industry, there were more millionaires born out of that difficult situation.
His grandfather Peter went on to explain that when times are tough, that’s the perfect time to get creative and step over the other people who simply lie down and don’t want to fight to survive.
“Not everyone can be a fighter of course”, but, if you find the drive and determination to see opportunity in adversity – this is when the magic happens”, Ben’s grandfather said.
With Ben’s grandfather’s advice echoing through his mind and armed with the fond memories of how his grandparents prospered in lean times, he set about digging deeper to secure his future in the mining industry.
Learn from your workmates
Ben is quite fortunate as he already has his underground ‘ticket’ as a drillers off-sider as well as additional qualifications in Confined Spaces and first aid.
From conversations he had with his senior driller and supervisor, it was clear that one of the ways to get ahead in the mining industry was to always be looking for ways to upskill and increase his mining knowledge as well as focus on safety and risk management.
Determined not to become another statistic in the job losses market, Ben took the advice of his supervisor and realised he had to do something creative to get himself out of this situation – and fast!
Remembering he had read an article in iMINCO Project News, Ben started to read more and more about the mining industry in Australia. Always being the inquisitive type, Ben took a look into the industry from the perspective of a mining manager – someone who has far greater knowledge of the total mining process.
“These people have their eyes across everything, because that’s what managers get the big bucks for, right?”, thought Ben.
In no time, Ben searched Google for mining articles and news about commodity prices in mining. He found some amazing news about how nickel was in demand and that the future forecasts for nickel looked very strong.
So the first thing Ben did was to find out a bit more about nickel, what it was used for and which Australian mining companies were actively mining nickel.
How to find out about nickel mining in Australia
Using the power of Google, Ben found out some interesting facts about nickel.
- Nickel is a hard, silver-white metal.
- Nickel has a high melting point.
- Nickel can also withstand very low temperatures.
- Nickel is rarely found in the earth in its pure form.
- Nickel won’t rust.
- Nickel mixes well with other metals to make many useful alloys.
- Nickel is very malleable and can be beaten and drawn out into a wire
- Nickel has magnetic properties, although it’s not as magnetic as iron.
- Nickel is also used to make coins.
- Nickle is used in Nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries.
Ben also discovered that in Australia, nickel is found mostly in Western Australia which has the largest nickel resources with 96 percent of nickel located there. Nickel is also mined in Queensland which has the second biggest deposits with 3.8 percent, followed by Tasmania with 0.2 percent.
To his surprise, he learned that Australia is one of the world’s major nickel producers. Nickel can be mined by open-pit or underground methods. The rock is crushed and ground, and at the processing plant the nickel sulphide ore is separated from the waste rock using froth flotation.
At a nickel refinery, the ore undergoes a heat treatment process where various chemicals are added to separate the nickel.
Where are the nickel mines in Australia?
The major nickel mines are owned by BHP Billiton’s Nickel West, continued operating at Leinster, Mount Keith and Cliffs north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Digging a little deeper on Google, Ben discovered these other Australian mining companies who are active in nickel mining . . . some of which he’d never heard of before.
- Rio Tinto Ltd
- Independence Group NL
- Western Areas NL
- Metals X Limited
- Panoramic Resources Ltd.
- Mincor Resources NL
- Mirabela Nickel Ltd
- Altona Mining Limited
- Mamba Minerals Limited
- Poseidon Nickel Limited
- Axiom Mining Limited…and many, many more
This list of mining companies was a bit like finding hidden treasure because it opened up Ben’s eyes to just how many mines were operating in Australia.
What Ben did next…
- He made a list of every mining company he could find in Australia who had nickel mining listed as one of their activities.
- He went to each of their websites and looked at these types of pages. The purpose of this was to discover as much information as possible about each mining company. This information would give Ben some clues as to what to do next.
We suggest you also read the following pages on mining company websites
- About us
- Contact information
- Email alerts
- Fact sheets and downloads
- He then took each mining company and searched for them on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Why did he do that?
Well, one of the easiest places to find out about a mining company in Australia is to see if they are a listed company. If the mining company is listed on the ASX, they have to report on ALL of their activities. This is a requirement under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. For people looking for clues as to which mining companies are a good bet for employment, you can learn many things from the ASX, such as:
- Annual reports
- Quarterly reports (indicates were the mining activity is now and in the future)
- The latest company news
- Who is running the company such as Director and senior managers (you can search their names on LinkedIn also)
- The stock price (is it going up or is it heading through the floor?)
- Ben took each mining company name and did a search on Google for ‘jobs’ to see if he could instantly find more clues as to where the jobs were within each company. As he performed these searches he made a record of this in his notes and highlighted those mining companies that matched his vision for future employment. Not every search will reveal the perfect job, although there is a lot to be learned from this.
Finding mining jobs in Australia
Reading through Ben’s story is typical of what many Australian’s are now doing to chase up mining jobs before they are advertised. Smart people like yourself, now realise waiting for jobs to be posted to jobs boards does not give you an advantage over the other applicants. You have to go hunting for jobs.
It’s not easy to get a high-paying job in the mines in Australia. It’s not easy to walk into any job and expect to be paid over $100k. High-paying jobs require skilled people who are willing to invest in themselves and do whatever it takes to get the right mix of training, qualifications and experience to get the job.
Are you ready to take on a mining job?
New starters especially have a challenging road ahead as they come to grips with trying to understand the mining industry in Australia. There are so many different types of job opportunities in mining and its not unusual for people to end up doing jobs they never thought they’d ever end up taking on – and that’s what makes mining so appealing.
Mining careers offer variety, excitement, travel and an opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.
Take the first step, learn about the industry first, take a mining skills test and see if you are cut out for a mining job.