Mining involves extracting minerals from the ground, either as a surface miner or an underground miner.
The work generally pays well, and it can be exciting to find precious metals.
Mining is also physically demanding and dangerous, both from a safety and health standpoint.
It is one of the best-paying jobs you can get without an education beyond high school, and that is its main advantage.
Benefits are also good in most cases.
There is a downside, however, which needs to be taken into consideration.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Miner
- Cons of Being a Miner
- Pros and Cons of Being a Miner – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Miner?
Pros of Being a Miner
1. Good pay and benefits
Most mining companies pay very well.
You don’t need a lot of experience or education either, so it can be a good entry-level job.
The average miner makes $65,000, and the range is generally $50,000 to $80,000.
Benefits are usually similar to what people with college degrees get.
It is probably the best job you can get if you have no specific skills or certifications.
2. No student debt
There is no college degree required, so you won’t have to go into debt with a student loan.
You can get a job right out of high school as a miner.
There are a lot of people with college degrees that do not make as much as miners make and they have a lot of debt.
A person with no degree or specialized education can get a very good-paying job as a miner.
3. A level of excitement
There could be some excitement in finding precious metals, even if you have to give them to the company you work for.
There is also some danger, and some people thrive in that environment.
If you like an adrenaline rush just about every day, and some danger, you might like being a miner.
It’s a good job for people who need the thrill of adventure.
4. You can be independent
You can work as a self-employed person for mining companies in some situations.
It is like freelancing, or they give you access for a time period.
You can mine for yourself, and give the company a share of your findings.
You could buy your own mine and do it yourself, but it does take a lot of knowledge to get to that level.
There are a few different ways of going about being an independent miner.
5. Escape the office environment
You won’t have to work in an office or look at a computer screen.
Many people find office work boring, especially if they are in a cubicle.
As a miner, you can feel you are doing something that matters.
In the office world, you can’t really see results, but as a miner, you can see the results of your work each day.
It is a good environment for people who like to work with their hands and see results.
As a miner, you get to work with the latest technology in mining.
You may have to learn some things on your own, but keeping up with the latest developments can help you get promoted.
Entry-level jobs require no education or skills, but if you want promotions to better jobs, you will need to learn.
There are some opportunities to advance to better jobs once you get hired in the mines.
7. Standard working hours
You might have to work a 12-hour shift now and then, but you will have a standard workweek.
You will have a regular schedule with a start and end time each day.
There’s no work at home.
You will probably also have weekends off, so there is plenty of time to pursue other interests.
This makes it easier to plan your life with your family.
8. Good work-life balance
Miners get holidays off, and weekends are usually off too.
There are no expectations of working overtime or working during your time off.
You will have time to have a good life outside of work, and you will be able to afford it because you are making a good amount of money.
One advantage of a manual labor job is that when the bell rings, you don’t have to think about work again until the next day.
9. Technological advances
Less than 100 years ago, virtually all mining was done by hand.
It was very hard and very dangerous work.
Machinery has made work a lot easier even as it has eliminated some jobs.
The work is also much safer because less has to be done by hand.
It’s still hard work in bad working conditions, but it is much better than it has ever been at the present time.
Cons of Being a Miner
1. It is dangerous work
Conditions are much better than they used to be, but there are still more dangers with this job than most jobs.
There is the risk of a mine caving in and trapping you.
You could be injured by falling objects or the heavy machinery that is used.
There are also health issues from breathing air that is contaminated.
Many miners develop lung problems.
2. It is a physically demanding job
Technology has made it a lot easier to be a miner, and machinery does most of the heavy lifting now.
There are still things that must be lifted and done by hand.
You have to stay in good physical condition to be strong enough to do the work while breathing contaminated air.
That makes the work even harder.
Bruises and minor injuries are very common.
3. Not much job security
If you are not operating one of the specialized machines, you don’t need any special skill to be a miner.
As a result, you will not be as valuable to the company because there are plenty of other people who will gladly take your place.
They might also want someone who is younger and stronger at some point.
Many people have to give up mining when they get older.
4. Working conditions
The air is contaminated, and even constant exposure to dust in the air can cause permanent illness.
Many miners develop breathing issues.
You could be far underground, so it is not easy to get back to the surface for some fresh air.
You would also be exposed to artificial light and no sunlight, and that is known to take a toll on a person’s health as well.
Most miners have long-term negative health issues after working in the mines.
5. Claustrophobia can be an issue
As a miner, you will be far underground and often working in tight spaces.
Even the corridors are not very high, so you might not be able to stand up all the way.
You will be stuck underground for at least eight hours and will not have a lot of room to move around.
If that seems uncomfortable, mining may not be the job for you.
6. Lower life expectancy
Miners do not live as long as other people do.
This is especially true in poorer undeveloped countries, but it is also true in the West.
The physical demands of the job, and the bad working conditions, are bad for a person’s health.
Accidents also happen often.
Mines are a lot safer than they used to be, but they are still dangerous and often cause health problems over time, even if you don’t get hurt.
7. Depression and mental illness
Mining takes a toll on a person’s body, and it takes a toll on a person’s mental health.
Depression is the most common mental illness for miners, but there can be other issues.
The lack of daylight is a major culprit, as well as the bad working conditions they work in.
Many miners lose their motivation after working for a long time in mines.
Mining is very important to our economy, but minors are not held in high esteem like other workers.
They are not considered professionals like teachers or lawyers.
Our society looks down on manual laborers, and mining is very much a manual labor job.
It can be hard to get a job in another field if you are a miner for that reason.
9. Machinery could replace miners
There is little job security because the standards for getting a job as a miner are low.
Machinery has made work safer and not as hard, but it has made workers less valuable.
Automation and artificial intelligence are doing more of the work that miners used to do.
Some jobs have been lost already, and more will likely be lost due to more technological advances.
It is safer, and less expensive, to send a robot into a mine than it is to put a human being in a dangerous place deep in the earth.
Pros and Cons of Being a Miner – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Miner||Cons of Being a Miner|
|1. Good pay and benefits||1. It is dangerous work|
|2. No student debt||2. It is a physically demanding job.|
|3. A level of excitement||3. Not much job security|
|4. You can be independent||4. Working conditions|
|5. Escape the office environment||5. Claustrophobia can be an issue|
|6. Technology||6. Lower life expectancy|
|7. Standard working hours||7. Depression and mental illness|
|8. Good work-life balance||8. Low social status|
|9. Technological advances||9. Machinery could replace miners|
Should You Become a Miner?
For most people, the answer would be no.
You should not become a miner.
However, if you are a young person, strong, and in good health, it is a way to get a good-paying job without extra education.
For people who do not plan to go to college, it could be a good job.
It could also be a good job to make money to save for college.
If you can handle the health risks and don’t mind small spaces in the dark, mining can be a good career.