Kaimahi Huke Kōwaro
Miners and quarry workers operate machinery, vehicles and equipment to extract and process minerals and rocks.
Quarry workers usually earn
$60K-$80K per year
Miners usually earn
$80K-$150K per year
Source: MITO and Minex, 2018.
Pay for miners and quarry workers varies depending on experience and level of responsibility.
- Quarry workers usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
- Miners usually earn between $80,000 and $150,000 a year.
Sources: MITO, 2018; Minex National Health and Safety Council, 2018.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Miners and quarry workers may do some or all of the following:
- extract, process and transport minerals or rocks
- maintain, repair and operate mining or quarrying machinery
- construct underground tunnels and install ventilation and roof supports
- prepare and maintain roadways within the work area
- set fuses and detonate explosives
- carry out safety checks on air quality, machinery, equipment, vehicles and work areas
- keep records of hazards.
Skills and knowledge
Miners and quarry workers need to have knowledge of:
- different mining or quarrying methods
- how to operate mining or quarrying machinery
- how to handle explosives and blasting
- mechanical skills to diagnose faults and carry out basic repairs
- health and safety regulations
- environmental regulations.
Miners and quarry workers:
- often work long hours and usually do shift work, including nights, weekends and being on call
- work in conditions that are dangerous, noisy and dirty
- work in cramped or confined conditions in underground mines, or varied weather conditions in opencast mines and quarries.
To become a miner or quarry worker you need to have a full driver's licence and pass drug and alcohol tests.
A heavy vehicle licence and a first aid certificate is useful.
Some employers may expect you to complete a relevant qualification such as a New Zealand Certificate in Mining and Quarrying (Level 2) while working.
- MITO website - information on mining and quarrying qualifications
- New Zealand Transport Agency website - information on heavy vehicle licences
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a miner or quarry worker. However maths, construction and mechanical technologies, geography and physical education are useful.
Miners and quarry workers need to be:
- safety-conscious and able to remain calm in emergencies
- able to work well under pressure
- comfortable working underground, and in cramped conditions
- able to follow instructions, but capable of acting on their own initiative
- responsible, disciplined and able to work in a team
- efficient and practical.
Useful experience for miners includes:
- operating machinery
- driving heavy vehicles
- work in the construction industry
- engineering or general labouring.
Miners and quarry workers need to have a good level of fitness and must be strong as they work with heavy equipment. Miners must pass a physical examination every six months.
Miners and quarry workers may also be required to undergo regular drug and alcohol tests.
Find out more about training
- 0800 882 121 - www.mito.org.nz
Check out related courses
What are the chances of getting a job?
Limited opportunities for miners may improve
Opportunities for miners in New Zealand have declined since 2014 and around 600 jobs have been lost in the coal mining industry. This is due to:
- poor prices for coal, oil and gold worldwide
- limits on land for mining
- closure of a major coal mining company.
However, opportunities for miners are still average and likely to increase due to:
- an expected price rise for coal, gold and oil
- new mines opening
- miners leaving to find better paid work in Australia
- an ageing workforce, so many miners will retire soon.
There are around 4,000 people working in the New Zealand mining industry.
Construction boom creates good demand for quarry workers
Opportunities for quarry workers are good, with a 3% increase in jobs since 2007.
This is due to our construction boom, which has created high demand for building materials such as aggregates (the rocks used to make concrete).
Chances of getting a job as a quarry worker are expected to stay good until 2023, as the demand for building materials continues and older quarry workers retire, leaving vacancies.
There are currently around 1,900 people working in quarrying.
Types of employers varied
Miners and quarry workers' employers vary from small quarries that employ two people to large quarries and mines that employ hundreds of staff.
- Collins, B, 'Everyone Wants to see any Job Opportunity', 23 November 2017, (www.radionz.co.nz).
- Mito, 'Mining 2017','Quarrying 2017',2017, (www.mito.org.nz).
- McDonald, L, 'Industries Fear Effects of new Government's Environmental Stance', 9 November 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Parton, R, CEO, The Aggregate and Quarry Association of New Zealand, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
- Scanlon, L, 'Stockton Mine Workers to Keep Jobs', 28 June 2017, (www.odt.co.nz).
- Scott, W, CEO, Minex National Health and Safety Council, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
- Stats NZ, 'Primary Sector Weakens', 21 September 2017, (www.stats.govt.nz).
- Stuff, 'New Zealand's Coal Exports are on the Decline', 2 October 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- World Bank, 'Commodity Prices Likely to Rise Further in 2018: World Bank', 26 October 2017, (www.worldbank.org).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Miners and quarry workers may progress into jobs in supervision, management and engineering.
Last updated 26 February 2020