How to get a job on a Dragline Shutdown in the QLD and NSW Coal mines

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In the ‘How to get a start at …….’ series we are running over Australian Mining and Construction projects all over the country.  In each post we will include an Overview of the project, a Location Profile, the Companies involved, the Occupations required, the skills / qualifications that will help you to get your foot in the door and the Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.  This will help you to stay in the loop and know how to skill up where needed.  The aim is to help you get yourself into the best position to land a start on the major sites and projects around Australia.

Dragline Shutdowns Overview

Draglines are a large single bucket excavator used to remove the overburden in open cut coal mines.  With the ability to Hoist, Swing, Drag and Propel Draglines have a lot of moving parts, under a lot of pressure, often 24/7 and with a approximately life span of 40 years there needs to be plenty of maintenance completed to get them through to that ripe old age.

To allow this maintenance they give the big fellas a rest and shut them down for varying times depending on the amount of work needed to be completed.  As a rough guide shuts are often between 4 and 13 weeks requiring between 100 and 250 workers across the duration.  To give you an idea in 2007 BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance) alone averaged 10 shutdowns per years so this can lead to on going work once you get your foot in the door.

Dragline shuts are carried out on site at the coal mines themselves.  Most of Australia’s coal mines are in QLD’s Bowen Basin, Galilee Basin, Surat Basin, Callide Basin, Tarong Basin, Moreton Basin and NSW’s Gunnedah basin, Gloucester Basin and Sydney Basin, so this is where the work for any Dragline shuts will be carried out.

Each Shut is different depending on the scope and scale but to give you an idea generally you’ll be installing any upgrades, UDD (Universal Dig Dump), Digital Electric Control, Improved Gearing etc or carrying out repairs and overhauls, Electrical Motors and Apparatus, Gearing Replacement, Bearing Replacement, Structural Repairs, Overhaul of drums, sheaves and any other wear components.


Location Profiles – Mackay and Coalfields

Mackay, Bowen Basin, Whitsunday Islands, Moranbah,  Airlie Beach, Dysart, Clermont, Great Barrier Reef, Beaches, Eungella National Park, Brampton Island, Coal Mining, Ports, Sugar Industry, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Wildlife Spotting, Swimming, Golf, Sailing, Tennis, Football, Cricket, Soccer, Hunting, Baseball, Basketball, Netball, Bowls, Moto x, Trail riding, 4×4

Population (Region): 180,000 (2012)

Mackay Regional Council Link

Mackay Region – Rents as at Mar 2012

2 bed 1 bath – $270 – $470

3 bed 1 bath – $340 – $550

4 bed 2 bath – $500 – $2500

Mackay Region – House Prices at at Mar 2012

2 bed 1 bath – $180,000 – $565,000

3 bed 1 bath – $280,000 – $1,050,000

4 bed 2 bath – $355,000 – $1,900,000


Newcastle, Maitlands and Hunter

Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Maitland, Singleton, Lake Macquarie,  Barrington Tops, Dungog, Gloucester, Wine Country,Cessnock, Port Stephens, Forster/Tuncurry, Kurri Kurri, Muswellbrook, Scone, Coal, Power Stations, Underground, Rail, Ports, Trail Riding, Moto x, 4×4, Surfing, Nightlife, Wineries, Rugby League, Soccer, Fishing, Beaches

Population: 644,279    (NSW gov)

NSW Government Hunter Region Link

Newcastle, Maitlands & Hunter Region – Rents as at Mar 2012

2 Bed 1 Bath –  $ 200 – $ 500

3 Bed 1 Bath –  $ 220 – $ 700

4 Bed 2 Bath – $ 300 – $ 800

Newcastle, Maitlands & Hunter Region – House Prices as at Mar 2012

2 Bed 1 Bath –  $ 150,000 – $ 345,000

3 Bed 1 Bath –  $ 160,000 – $ 830,000

4 Bed 2 Bath – $ 300,000 – $ 3.500,000

Companies Involved

  • Transfield Services
  • G&S Engineering
  • Monadelphous
  • RCR Resources
  • P&H Mine Pro Services

Occupations Required

  • Electricians
  • Mechanical Fitters
  • Trade’s Assistants
  • Boilermakers
  • Scaffolders
  • Crane Operators
  • Doggers
  • Riggers
  • Trade’s Assistants
  • Stores person
  • Cleaners
  • Industrial Painter and Blasters
  • Leading Hands and Supervisors for the above Occupations


Qualifications to help you get a foot in

  • Occupational Health and Safety – Construction Induction (White Card)
  • Australian Drivers Licences
  • High Risk Work Licence for any required plant, eg. EWP’s and Forklifts
  • Safely Working at Heights for EWP workers
  • Confined Space Entry / Access
  • Coal Board Medical Clearance Certificate
  • RRTO Standard 11 Coal Surface Induction


Enterprise Bargaining Agreements

An Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) is a collective industrial agreement between either an employer and a trade union acting on behalf of employees or an employer and employees acting for themselves.

These are ever changing based on each shut so follow this link to find the relevant EBA.

Disclaimer: Cribhut provides this information with the best intentions, but purely as a guide.  Like most things in life, there are no guarantees.  Your lively hood is your own responsibility and even if following the above recommendations, it is still up to you to do your own research, to be patient, persistent and put in the hard work.



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