Underground Production and Development Miners

Occupation:Underground Miners, Mine Service and Support Workers
Category:Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

About the job

Nature of work:

Underground production and development miners drill, blast, operate mining machinery, and perform related duties to extract coal and ore in underground mines and to construct tunnels, passageways and shafts to facilitate mining operations. They are employed by coal, metal and non-metallic mineral underground mines and by specialized contractors in mine construction, shaft sinking and tunneling.

Underground mine service and support workers perform a range of duties related to the operation of ore passes, chutes and conveyor systems, the construction and support of underground structures, passages and roadways, and the supply of materials and supplies to support underground mining. They are employed by coal, metal and non-metallic mineral mines.

Job duties:
Underground production and development miners perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up and operate drills and drilling machines to produce a designated pattern of blasting holes.
  • Operate diamond drills or other specialized drills such as raise boring machinery to test geological formations or to produce underground passageways.
  • Set up and operate mining machinery to shear coal, rock or ore from the working face.
  • Load explosives, set fuses, and detonate explosives to produce desired blasting patterns and rock fragmentation in underground mines.
  • Operate scoop tram, load-haul-dump (LHD) machine or mucking machine to load and haul ore from stopes, drifts and drawpoints to ore passes.
  • Perform duties required to ensure safety and to support the mining advance, such as scaling loose rock from walls and roof, drilling and installing rock bolts, extending and installing air and water pipes, operating ore loading machinery, inspecting mine shafts, operating hoists that transport people, equipment and materials through mine shafts, and constructing timber supports and cribbing if required.
  • Perform routine maintenance of mining machinery.
Underground mine service and support workers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate and maintain ore chutes or conveyor systems to control flow of ore or coal in underground mine.
  • Operate construction equipment such as bulldozer, grader or backhoe to build and maintain underground passages and haulageways.
  • Construct and repair wood or metal supports and structures such as bulkheads, platforms, drift doors and chutes using construction and mining tools.
  • Attach and extend ventilation and water pipes and related mine services.
  • Assist miners in setting up and operating various drills and other mining machinery.
  • Supply and maintain backfill distribution of sand, rock or other materials.
  • Operate diesel or electric track haulage equipment such as ore trains to distribute personnel and supplies and to convey ore from ore pass to primary crusher or skip.
  • Maintain supply storage areas and maintain equipment and supplies such as explosives, drill bits, fire extinguishers, lamps and batteries.
  • Perform routine maintenance of machinery.
Sample job titles:
  • blaster - underground mining
  • crusher operator - underground mining
  • driller - underground mining
  • loading machine operator - underground mining
  • mine attendant
  • mine construction worker
  • miner
  • skip loader - underground mining

To work in these jobs, you should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical aptitude would also be helpful. You must be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by supervisors.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Formal training followed by extended periods of specialized training as a helper or in support positions is usually provided.
  • Company licensing or certification is often required for jobs in this grouping.
  • Provincial blasting licence may be required.
  • Certificate in first aid may be required.
Other considerations:

Previous experience as a mine labourer or in other mine positions is usually required. Progression to mining supervisor is possible with experience. Mobility is possible to other occupations in underground mining such as underground service and support jobs. There is mobility between employers within each of the three following sectors: underground coal mining, underground hard rock mining and underground potash, salt or soft rock mining. Mobility between these sectors is somewhat limited by differences in production technologies.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Underground Miners, Mine Service and Support Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 41% of Underground Miners, Mine Service and Support Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $68,845. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Underground Production and Development Miners195Strong growth45High
Minimum: $16.75
Median: $30.00
Maximum: $43.00
Minimum: $28,474
Median: $67,732
Maximum: $142,903
All NS Occupations427,305Weak growth33,315Moderate
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $19.89
Maximum: $40.00
Minimum: $2,872
Median: $29,983
Maximum: $83,126
Underground Production and Development MinersCompared to: All NS Occupations
Percent employed full-time100%78%
Percent self-employed8%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentUnderground Production and Development MinersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton48%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley4%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeUnderground Production and Development MinersCompared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
% Employed% Employed
Median Agex45
GenderUnderground Production and Development MinersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% Employed% Employed
EducationUnderground Production and Development MinersCompared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school15.8%$41,33634.0%$14,445
High school33.7%$42,84631.5%$14,229
Trades certificate33.7%$64,86914.0%$19,107
College certificate or diploma11.9%$68,30614.3%$21,289
University certificate or diplomaxx1.1%$17,641
Bachelor's degree4.0%$56,0384.3%$15,980
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.3%$17,206
Master's degreexx0.4%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxxN/AN/A
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
Suite 1250, 3500 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West
Westmount, QC H3Z 3C1
Tel: (514) 939-2710
Fax: (514) 939-2714

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Program Name:Mining technology/technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in the development and operation of mines and related mineral processing facilities. These programs include courses in principles of mineral extraction and related geology, mineral field mapping and site analysis, testing and sampling methods, instrument calibration, assay analysis, test equipment operation and maintenance, mine environment and safety monitoring procedures, mine inspection procedures, and report preparation.
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Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.