Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal Processing

Occupation:Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal Products Processing and Manufacturing
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes many machine-related jobs that require some skill and are generally performed inside a building. These workers assist with repairs and maintenance of machinery; feed conveyors and other equipment; handle materials; monitor machine operations; and clean work areas. They are employed by a wide variety of processing and manufacturing operations.

Job duties:
Machine operators, mineral and metal processing and manufacturing, perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up, prepare and adjust equipment and machinery to carry out one step in the overall mineral or metal processing operation.
  • Observe gauges, meters, computer printouts, video monitors and products to ensure correct operation of machine and verify specified processing conditions.
  • Study job orders and interpret blueprints to determine machining operations to be performed.
  • Make adjustments to machinery as required.
  • Record production information and complete reports.
  • Fit and assemble components using hand and power tools.
  • Clean, polish, file or otherwise finish products.
  • Check products for quality and other specifications.
  • May clean and lubricate machinery.
  • May assist with machinery maintenance or repair.
  • May document work completed.
The following is a summary of the main duties for some foundry workers:
  • Manual mouldmakers make and repair sand moulds using patterns, moulding boxes, sand and hand tools following bench, floor or pit moulding methods; operate ovens to dry moulds; may pour molten metal into moulds to produce metal castings.
  • Manual coremakers make cores for use inside moulds to form holes or void spaces in castings using core boxes, sand, hammer and wire or other reinforcing material; coat cores with protective materials and bake cores in oven.
  • Machine mouldmakers and coremakers set up, adjust and operate various mouldmaking and coremaking machines to make sand and ceramics moulds and cores.
  • Metal casters set up and operate various casting machines to cast ferrous and non-ferrous metal products; hand ladle and pour molten metal into moulds to produce castings.
  • Foundry furnace operators operate furnaces used to melt metals for moulding and casting.
  • Inspectors and testers inspect products at various stages of processing to ensure adherence to specifications; grade and label raw materials or finished products according to size, thickness, composition or other classification standards; and take samples of products during or after processing operation for routine analysis or for subsequent laboratory analysis.
The following is a summary of the main duties for some glass forming, finishing, and cutting workers:
  • Glass process control operators operate multi-function process control machinery to mix and melt raw materials; heat, anneal, temper or form float glass or glass products; and coat glass with silver or other metals and materials; observe gauges, computer printouts and video monitors to verify specified processing conditions and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Glass forming machine operators set up and adjust automatic glass feeding, flowing and forming machines; operate and maintain machines that press or blow molten glass in moulds to form or shape containers, such as bottles, jars and drinking glasses; and operate electric kilns that heat glass sheets and mould to the shape and curve of metal jigs.
  • Glass finishing machine operators set up and adjust glass and glass-product finishing machines; operate and maintain finishing machines to grind, drill, sand, bevel, decorate, wash or polish glass or glass products; and visually inspect products for quality.
  • Glass cutters jig and measure and mark glass or place pattern on or under glass for cutting; examine and mark defective glass to obtain best cut; cut glass along marked outlines or around pattern using hand tools; smooth rough edges using belt sander or smoothing wheels; and set up, operate and adjust computerized or robotic glass cutting equipment.
Sample job titles:
  • aluminum sheet cutter - metal fabrication
  • bottle maker operator - glass and glass products
  • brick and tile inspector
  • concrete products tester
  • foundry worker
  • glass worker - glass products manufacturing
  • machine operator - mineral and metal processing
  • machine tool setter
  • metal products manufacturing machine operator
  • stonecutter - stone products

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must be accurate and attentive to detail. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
Other considerations:

Generally, work is carried out in shifts at various hours of the day. Previous experience as a machine or process operator, helper or labourer often in the same company is usually required as an entry point for this position. Mobility is possible among the various types of machine operators in this group with the exception of those within the mineral and metal processing and metalworking industries. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience. Experienced machining tool operators may become machinists or tool and die makers through apprenticeship training.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. 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. Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal Products Processing and Manufacturing most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 64% of Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal Products Processing and Manufacturing who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $46,121. 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
Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal Processing465xN/Ax
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $19.00
Maximum: $26.44
Minimum: $11,415
Median: $38,697
Maximum: $57,721
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Machine Operators in Mineral and Metal ProcessingCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time94%87%
Percent self-employed9%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMachine Operators in Mineral and Metal ProcessingCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton11%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley15%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeMachine Operators in Mineral and Metal ProcessingCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4345
GenderMachine Operators in Mineral and Metal ProcessingCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
EducationMachine Operators in Mineral and Metal ProcessingCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school17.4%$19,28822.9%$21,011
High school34.9%$33,34538.1%$28,358
Trades certificate8.3%$36,82812.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma23.9%$35,54520.3%$36,968
University certificate or diplomax$42,0751.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree6.4%$33,6004.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.3%$55,581
Master's degreex$32,4490.5%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%N/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:
63 Otter Lake Court, 2nd Floor
Halifax, NS B3S 1M1
Tel: (902) 455-9327

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
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.