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 tunnelling.
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 scooptram, 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.
- Completion of secondary school is usually required.
- Formal training of up to six weeks followed by extended periods of specialized training as a helper or in support occupations is usually provided.
- Previous experience as a mine labourer or in other mine occupations is usually required.
- Provincial blasting licence may be required.
- May be certified in the basic common core program or as an underground hard rock miner in Ontario.
- Trade certification for miners is available, but voluntary, in Quebec and Manitoba.
- Company licensing or certification is often required for occupations in this unit group.
- Progression to mining supervisor is possible with experience.
- Mobility is possible to other occupational groups in underground mining such as underground service and support occupations.
- 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.