My title

What is Open Cut Mining?

Open cut mining, also known as open-pit or open-cast mining, is a method employed to extract valuable minerals or rocks from the earth. This type of mining is characterised by the creation of a large visible pit or hole in the ground, as opposed to tunnelling into the earth, which is typical of other forms of mining. Open cut mining is commonly used for a variety of materials such as coal, copper, gold and other resources found near the surface.

How Does Open Cut Mining Work?

The process of open cut mining involves several distinct steps. Firstly, a resource-rich area is identified through exploratory surveys and drilling. Once a viable site is confirmed, the overburden, which is the layer of soil and rock above the mineral deposit, is removed. This is achieved with heavy machinery such as bulldozers and trucks.

After the overburden is cleared, the exposed mineral deposit is then mined, usually in a series of steps or benches, which help provide stability to the mine and allow for safe operation. Once the resource has been extracted, the pit is often filled and rehabilitated.

How is Open Cut Mining Different to Underground Mining?

While both open cut and underground mining methods aim to extract valuable resources, they differ significantly in their approach. Open cut mining involves removing the surface layer of the ground to reach the resource. This method is often used when the valuable resource is located relatively close to the surface, making it economically viable to remove the overburden.

In contrast, underground mining involves creating tunnels or shafts into the ground to reach deeper deposits. This method is used when the resource is located far beneath the surface or when the quantity of overburden makes open cut mining impractical.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Open cut mining, for example, allows for the extraction of a higher volume of material, but it can have a larger environmental impact due to the extent of surface disturbance. On the other hand, underground mining is less disruptive to the surface environment, but it comes with higher operational costs and safety concerns due to the risks associated with underground operations.

What Types of Jobs are there in Open Cut Mining?

There is a broad range of jobs in open cut mining and many entry level jobs which are a great place to start your mining career, including:

  1. Truck Driver – Responsible for transporting minerals and rocks in large, heavy-duty trucks. This job requires a commercial driver’s license and is crucial for mining operations.
  2. Labourer/Offsider – Labourers assist in various tasks around the mine site. Duties may include cleaning, maintenance and assisting other tradespersons.
  3. Field Assistant – They assist geologists and engineers in their daily tasks. This role might involve collecting and cataloguing samples, recording data and other field-related tasks.
  4. Drillers Offsider – Helps the driller in setting up drilling rigs, maintaining equipment and managing drilling operations. Safety is very important in this role and this is a very popular entry level role.
  5. Cleaner – Responsible for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness standards across mine site facilities.
  6. Kitchen Hand – Works in the mine’s dining facility to assist in food preparation and cleaning.
  7. Trainee Operator – A trainee operator learns how to operate various mining machinery under the guidance of experienced operators.
  8. Administration Assistant – Provides administrative support in the mining office, which may include managing documents, scheduling and onboarding new staff. Admin assistants can then become Site Administrators once they are established.
  9. Storeperson – Manages the storage and inventory of supplies, parts, and equipment necessary for mining operations.
  10. Trades Assistant – Assists skilled tradespeople such as electricians, mechanics, and fitters with their duties. This role is a good entry point for those interested in a trade career in the mining industry.

Each of these roles represents an entry point into the mining industry. Over time, workers often receive on-the-job training and skill development opportunities, allowing for career progression.

The Top Open Cut Mines in Australia

Australia is home to some of the world’s largest open cut mines. Here are the top 10:

  1. Boddington Gold Mine, Western Australia – Operated by Newmont Corporation
  2. Super Pit Gold Mine, Western Australia – Operated by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines
  3. Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine, Western Australia – Operated by BHP
  4. Fimiston Open Pit, Western Australia – Operated by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines
  5. Ranger Uranium Mine, Northern Territory – Operated by Energy Resources of Australia
  6. Peak Downs Coal Mine, Queensland – Operated by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance
  7. Tropicana Gold Mine, Western Australia – Joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti and IGO Ltd and
  8. Saraji Coal Mine, Queensland – Operated by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance
  9. Cadia-Ridgeway Mine, New South Wales – Operated by Newcrest Mining
  10. Olympic Dam Copper-Uranium Mine, South Australia – Operated by BHP

Need a Mining Resume to land a great mining job?

To ensure YOUR Resume stands out, get a winning Mining Resume written by Mining Resume Writer and enjoy success sooner.

Mining Resume Writer can Help

Contact us today and find out more about how MINING RESUME WRITER can help you.