If the mine site you will be working on is located in a remote area, you may be employed on a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) basis. What this means is that you can still live in your existing home with your family, but when your mine shift comes up, your employer will fly you out to the mine site. You will then stay on-site for whatever period you are rostered on for. At the completion of your rostered period, the mining company will then fly you back home.
Please note however that usually the mining company will only fly you from the mine site back to the nearest major city. If you want to be flown further afield, generally it will be your responsibility to organise connecting flights.
While on the mine site, rosters of three weeks on and one week off are not uncommon. However, these days mining companies tend to pay more attention to the needs of employees and are doing what they can to make the work a little less arduous. To this end, FIFO rosters are typically shortening, with rosters of 9 days on and 5 days off. 8 days on and 6 days off are also becoming more common.
During the period you live on-site for FIFO jobs, your employer will likely provide you with accommodation. However do not expect a flash hotel room! On-site accommodation is very basic?usually just a very small room with an en suite. On the brighter side, the employer will usually cover your laundry / cleaning, and all food is provided.
Living conditions are rather basic, but most sites have fridges and electricity to your room, and communal TV is usually available, so all the essentials of life are covered.
In some instances however, you may in fact be charged for use of these things by your employer and the cost will be deducted from your pay packet. It is essential when applying for work that you carefully check the conditions of your contract so you are not caught out by anything.
FIFO jobs are seen as being somewhat more cushy than DIDO jobs (as detailed below). Anecdotally at least, there is certainly more competition for FIFO jobs. Obviously it is easy to see why FIFO positions are preferred?your commuting time to and from the mine site is minimised, the pay tends to be better, and FIFO allows you to work in a distant mine site that you would otherwise be unable to reach?but because of the added competition, we recommend that if you don’t have previous experience in the mining industry, consider carefully whether applying for FIFO jobs will be the best option for you or not.
Some mining jobs are advertised on the basis of them being DIDO. This means the position works on a drive-in-drive-out basis?at the beginning of your rostered shift (generally for a week or more), you will drive out to the mine site in your own vehicle. You will then stay on-site for the duration of your rostered shift.
On the completion of your shift you will then drive yourself back to your home. These positions usually exist when the mine site is within comfortable driving distance of a major city.
Other Forms of Accommodation
If the mine site is located near a major town or city, you simply commute to the mine site every day, and return home each night. In these situations, the mining company will not pay for each of your journeys, so it will be your responsibility to organise this. This can sometimes be a little difficult and pricey, particularly for mine sites that employ large numbers of people and are located some distance from larger towns and cities. The Mount Isa and Kalgoorlie mine sites are a good example of this. In these towns, rental accommodation comes at a premium, so be prepared to pay a great deal more if you require a house to rent.
If you intend to move with your family to be closer to your new job, it is important to consider the best place for them. For instance, will they be better served in a major city where you will possibly see them once every two weeks and then for a one week period, or would you rather they move nearer to the mine site – and possibly live in a very small isolated mining town?in order to be closer to you?
We would strongly recommend, before uprooting yourself and possibly your family, that you first secure guaranteed employment. There is nothing worse than quitting an existing job and then spending months looking around for work. It is certainly much more desirable to have a mining job lined up that you can walk into.[faq-ask-questions]