Driller and Blaster

Drillers and Blasters are not only employed in the Mining Industry, they are also frequently employed in the oil and gas industry, the construction industry, for forestry companies and avalanche control companies as well as many other industries.

Typical Duties

  • For those choosing to work in the mining industry, Drillers will typically drive and operate mobile drilling machines such as tracked or truck mounted rotary drilling machines to bore holes in open pit mines or quarries
  • They may also be responsible for drilling blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites and drilling holes for building foundations or pilings
  • Basically a Driller will be responsible for creating blast holes in open pit mines and quarries for various functions including the construction of building foundations
  • The responsibilities of a Blaster is a little different as Blasters deal with explosives and are trained to place explosives in the blast holes and detonate explosives with the aim of dislodging rocks, ore, coal etc. and to demolish structures

Working Conditions

  • One would need to be able to drive or operate track or truck-mounted rotary drilling equipment
  • One would also need to be able to make accurate measurements
  • It would be important to be able to read blueprints for drill patterns and tests, and to be able to follow written codes and regulations
  • Because of the nature of the job one would need to be physically able to drill, wire and place explosives
  • This means one would need to be physically fit and strong and also to be mechanically orientated
  • Will often also work in remote locations where one can be exposed to extreme weather conditions including dust and being exposed to loud noises

Educational Requirements

  • Typically Employers would require that you would need a high school diploma
  • For Drillers a heavy equipment operator qualification and some on the job training
  • Blasters would need a blasting license and experience as a Blaster Helper in surface mining/quarrying
  • In many regions Certified Blasters must work as an Apprentice under a Journeyman Blaster to learn the trade
  • It is not uncommon for an entry level worker to take up to five years to become a Journeyman Blaster

Personal Attributes

  • Drillers and Blasters work outdoors where they would either be based in open pit or underground mines
  • Be able to work under pressure
  • Will have to work closely with other crew members to coordinate responsibilities and communicate progress
  • The work can be noisy and is physically tiring, this requires physical strength as well as an ability to concentrate and work in physically challenging environments
  • Have a sense of adventure and be able to spend extended periods of time away from home


  • Drillers and Blasters typically earn very good salaries when working in mining
  • Driller and Blaster salaries vary tremendously depending on what region they are working in, what industry and in terms of how much experience they have
  • Other factors that will influence the salary of a Driller and Blaster include what company they work for, whether the position is FIFO, and whether they are in a contract or permanent position


  • Find out more about salaries here.

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