Mining, Energy & Utilities
Mineral Processing Operator
Mineral processing operators use specialised equipment to process ores until the final form of a mineral is produced.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Mineral Processing Operator do?
Mineral processing operators use specialised equipment to process ores until the final form of a mineral - such as gold, silver, nickel or iron ore - is produced.
As a mineral processing operator, you would:
- assemble and dismantle equipment and fittings in ore-processing plants
- operate ore-crushing and screening plants using manual and computer-based systems
- mix chemicals, catalysts and reagents to treat ores
- monitor equipment materials-handling and transporting equipment and clear blockages
- immediately report equipment faults to prevent further deterioration
- clean, wash and maintain plant, equipment and auxiliary systems
- safely isolate processing equipment for planned or unplanned shutdowns
- take samples of materials and test samples in a laboratory
- manage tailings dams and associated raw-water systems
- ensure safe operation of processing equipment at all times.
Key skills and interests
To become a mineral processing operator, you would need:
- to enjoy manual activities
- good physical fitness
- to be safety-conscious
- to be practical and resourceful
- mechanical aptitude.
Working hours and conditions
In a full-time role, you could expect to work standard hours per week, usually on a shift basis. Overtime may be available. Some mineral processing operators may work in rural or remote areas, on a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) basis. You would fly-in to the mine site, work for several weeks and fly-out.
Mineral processing operators work in mines, quarries, and mineral processing plants. The job is physically demanding and some tasks may be dangerous. Your employer would normally provide you with protective clothing.
How to become an Mineral Processing Operator?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a mineral processing operator without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job.
You can also become a mineral processing operator through a traineeship in Resource Processing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
Employment opportunities for mineral processing operators are expected to grow slower than the average of other occupations, and may even remain relatively static over the next 5-10 years.
Following strong growth in the mining industry over the last 10 years, a combination of technological developments, further automating mining and mineral processing, and constrained investment growth will stunt employment growth prospects in the medium-long terms.
Better prospects may exist for experienced mineral processing operators in South American and Asian countries where investment in mining and minerals processing continues to support economic development.