After prospecting for a potential natural resource and identifying its type, the next key process is digging it up from the ground. The process of unearthing the natural resource is known as excavation. Mining in Australia is carried out in open pit and underground mines. In case of underground mines there are soft rock and hard rock mines. The complexity and the process of excavation differs from one type of mine to another. In smaller mines excavation carried out by unskilled labour. Mining industry in Australia employs excavators of various types to carry out the mining process in mid level and large scale mining operations.
Mining industry in Australia uses Crawler Excavator, Mini Crawler Excavator, Wheel Excavator, Compact Excavator and Dragline Excavator. These excavators are highly sophisticated and complex machinery to handle. Excavators used by the mining industry in Australia have a normal payload capacity in the excess of 150 tonnes. Some of the common Excavator models used in the mines of Australia are HITACHI EX 1800, 1900, 2500, LEIBHER 994, Komatsu PC1250, Leibherr 994.
Excavator operators have a mission critical job of earth moving from the mines. Excavator operators should be overtly cautious and alert during earth moving since the structural integrity of the mine could be compromised if dug on a wrong pressure point. The job of an Excavator operator is also physically intense as they have to keep the excavator and its accessories running with the levers in the cabin. The work environment is almost always humid, dusty and hot. When working underground, the lighting may be poor and hence a good eyesight is mandatory requirement for an excavator operator.
Excavator operators are responsible for the safe and efficient operation of excavators to dig, move and load earth, rock or other materials. Mining industry in Australia employs the Excavator Operator to handle a multitude of tasks. Apart from hard rock mining and earth moving, the Excavator operators have to manoeuvre the low loaders for loading and unloading plant from low loaders, communicating with truck drivers and other personnel to co-ordinate earth moving operations and operating equipment to excavate to correct levels and alignment, working from drawings and markers. The excavator operators are also in charge of back filling trenches, selecting & changing the excavator attachments and the general maintenance & service of the excavator and other equipments.
Individuals aspiring to become excavator operators should have a valid HR truck license and a six month of relevant excavator operation experience. Driving / operating experience of machinery like CAT D10R / T Dozers and CAT 16 H Graders is very much preferred. The applicants have to pass through a stringent medical and physical fitness test to be considered for the job of an excavator operator. Excavator operators are expected to adhere to and follow strict safety & health codes and guidelines at all times. The excavator operator job being a rough and tough job pays a nice package ranging from $100000 to $13000 along with other perks like FIFO, health care and life insurance.