Woman wearing hard had holds sieve of gravel at a mine site

Why work in the mining industry?

The mining industry is a major employer in NSW offering close to 30,000 direct jobs, many in regional areas.

The industry has traditionally lacked diversity in its workforce. But times are changing and recent figures published by the Commonwealth show 17 per cent of employees in the mining industry are women and Indigenous employment has grown also. A Closing the Gap report states in 2016 the mining industry employed two-and-a-half times the number of Indigenous people employed to 2006.

Regional areas with nearby mines can provide residents with the lifestyle and wellbeing that comes with country living and good job security.

The industry is resilient. Despite the challenges regional NSW has faced in recent times from drought, bushfires and COVID-19, there has been comparatively little impact on the NSW mining industry or workforce.

The NSW Government strongly supports the environmentally and socially responsible development of the state’s mineral resources for the benefit of the people of NSW.

Hear from women in mining





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The mining industry offers a wide variety of jobs for a range of skills.

People employed in mining can be working with explosives or data, with colleagues in compliance, environmental science or community consultation.

The range of roles includes:

  • analysts
  • scientists
  • engineers
  • ecologists
  • accountants
  • geologists
  • logistics
  • administration
  • corporate services
  • trades – electricians, mechanics, etc.

Many of these skills are transferable with workers having the flexibility to move in and out of the industry over the course of their career.

Employees can work hours that balance their work, family, study and other commitments.

Options include:

  • crib relief shifts– typically a 38-hour week with flexible start and finishing times
  • roster system – 12-hour shifts either three days on, two days off or a block of shifts to accommodate a longer break
  • Fly-in Flyout (FIFO) - while FIFO operations are not common in NSW, many NSW residents work interstate on a roster such as three weeks working on location followed by a week at home.

Watch women in the mining industry being recognised for their contributions

Mining is an international industry which relies on employment where the minerals are located. Additionally, some corporate and support roles may be based in nearby towns or cities. The industry provides opportunities for professionals to move across the state, the country and the world.

NSW has a rich and diverse mineral endowment with mining occurring in the Hunter Region, Central West, Far West, Southern Tablelands and Central Coast. As the demand for elements has changed over time, exploration has increased to meet demand. More recently the increase in demand for battery metals and rare earth elements has meant significant exploration in central NSW with several projects at advanced stages of development.

Australian mines invest more in training per person than any other industry. Over the past decade, more than 5.5 per cent of payroll was spent on training, including more than $50 million of direct investment in higher education.

This high standard of training also means some roles can be easily transferred to other industries. For example, heavy equipment operators and tradespeople can be employed in the construction industry.

According to Safe Work Australia statistics, Australian mining is a safer industry than other domestic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fishing, transport, postal, warehousing, construction and manufacturing. High safety standards in Australian mining driven by industry and government ensure miners reach home safely at the end of each day. There are many roles in health and safety to equip and ensure employees are complying with best practice procedures. As a result, Australia is considered an international leader in mine safety research in everything from automation to procedures and policies.

NSW prides itself on upholding a high standard of safety and environmental responsibility across the mining sector with the support of the NSW Resources Regulator’s safety and compliance officers. In fact, there are many environmental scientists and health and safety officer roles in industry and government to ensure the welfare of colleagues and the environment. Many environmental roles assist in ensuring the ecological impact is well understood before and during mining activities. Monitoring also ensures land is brought back to a suitable final landform or habitat after mining.

The industry takes cultural safety seriously as well. BHP, Anglo American and South32 all have Reconciliation Action Plans which include commitments to increasing cultural awareness in the workplace.

Hear Indigenous employees talk about their work and opportunities at Whitehaven Coal


Hear an Indigenous small business owner talk about working with a local mine


All the trappings of modern living are either grown or mined. Mined resources underpin almost every aspect of modern lifestyles. Working in the mining industry means participating in the supply chain of modern necessities. For example, coal currently provides 80 per cent of the state’s electricity needs and is also an important element in making steel for construction, transport and manufacturing.

Mining also has a role to play in our transition to a cleaner energy future. High tech minerals are needed for wind turbines, electric cars and rechargeable batteries. For more information view the NSW High Tech Metals Map.

More information

View the pages listed on the left to find out how to begin your career in the mining industry.