Mine labourers (NOC 8614)

About this job

Mine labourers perform a variety of duties that help remove coal, metal, mineral deposits, ore and other natural substances from the earth in underground and surface mining. Typically, people with this job support miners who are more specialized. They may work as a part of a team or on their own. They may be supervised or take direction from the more specialized miners or other senior workers on the job site. 

Mine labourers need to be flexible and adapt to different ways of doing things. They must also be able to work under pressure while understanding and following safety regulations. 

People in this job need mechanical skills. They must also be able to read and write, communicate with co-workers, have basic analytical skills as well as follow instructions.
 
Common job titles
  • chute puller
  • core cutter
  • duster, rock / stone
  • labourer - mining exploration
  • miner / pipeworker
  • pit scaler

Duties

Mine labourers:

  • Assist other mine workers to maintain and construct underground installations
  • Clean underground rooms, roadways, working areas and mining equipment
  • Transport and organize materials/supplies
  • Clear away spills of ore or coal

Work environment

Mine labourers typically work for mining companies. This job is physically and mentally demanding since those working at surface operations are exposed to all weather conditions and those working underground experience a dark and damp setting.

Mine labourers may be exposed to potential hazards, including chemicals and loud noises. They may also work near large, moving machinery. High-level safety standards ensure that work sites follow strict safety regulations. This includes wearing eye, ear and respiratory protection, protective clothing with reflectors, gloves, hard hats and steel-toed boots.

Since mines are often located in remote areas, underground production and development miners may be required to travel and live at the mining camp for weeks or months at a time. However, many B.C. mines are located near communities, and workers who live nearby can return home after their shift. In some cases, the cost of living can be lower in these remote communities.

Most mine labourers work full-time and very few work part-time or are self-employed. They often work more than 40 hours per week, but many do not work year-round. Shifts usually last eight to 12 hours a day and rotating shift work is common because mines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means they may work unusual hours. Shift length can vary depending on the location and urgency of the project. 

Insights from industry

This is a physically challenging job and often requires mine labourers to be away from home for long periods of time, often in remote regions. While there are others staying at the mine “camp” or lodge, it can feel isolating and lonely at times. Also, mine labourers may also be required to move from mine to mine, depending on the project needs and the length of their contract. 

Mine labourers often spend a great deal of time outdoors in extreme weather conditions (hot in summer and cold in winter). More people are worried about climate change and how natural resources are being extracted and used. Some people think that mining does damage to the environment. This means that mine labourers and other mine workers may have to face community members and advocates who oppose mining by protesting at the site. At times, it can be challenging to access the work site due to active protests. In extreme cases, police or security can be called in to protect the mining employees.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

The mine labourer role is an entry level position into the mining industry. A mine labourer could move into more senior jobs such as an underground production and development miner or an underground mine service and support worker. Additional training, commonly provided by the mine labourers' employer, is needed to move into these jobs.

Additional resources