A Guide to FIFO Mining Jobs in Australia

This article covers all the information you need to know about fly-in/fly-out FIFO jobs in the Australian mining industry, including what they are, the benefits, how to get started, and much more. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, this guide will help you navigate the world of FIFO mining jobs and give you the tools you need to succeed. So grab a coffee and let's dig in!

an open pit metalliferous mine with a green lake

Types of FIFO Rosters

In a mining context, shift refers to the amount of hours worked per day, while roster refers to the number of days worked consecutively whilst on site. Throughout the Australian mining industry, roster is also often referred to as hitch, swing, or tour (specifically in underground mining).

Most mine site and exploration project jobs comprise a 12-hour daily shift, with various types and combinations of rostered days on/off depending on several factors, including:

  • Role/position (e.g., technical services or trades/labour).
  • Mine or exploration project location and access (e.g., regional or remote/isolated).
  • Employer type (i.e., mining company, contractor or consultant).

In recent years, the most common roster types offered to FIFO mine workers are:

  • 8/6 roster (8 days on/6 days off). Often called the “lifestyle roster”, 8/6 FIFO workers will travel to site on Day 1, travel home on Day 8, and have the following 6 days off-site at home (or on holiday!).
  • 7/7 roster (7 days on/7 days off).
  • 14/7 roster (14 days on/7 days off). This roster is more common in the mineral exploration industry (e.g., drillers, drillers offsiders, and exploration geologists), where projects sites are more remote and isolated, and access to accommodation and transport is more limited.
  • 5/2 roster (5 days on/2 days off). Some technical services professionals (e.g., mine planning/scheduling engineers and mine geologists) work a Monday to Friday week and choose to fly home for the weekend. It should be noted that these workers would typically have accommodation provided to them in a mining camp or residential area, so it can be considered a pseudo-FIFO roster.

Physical & Mental Health

Working a FIFO roster in the Australian mining industry can be challenging for both physical and mental health. The long periods away from home, the isolation, and the demanding work schedule can take a toll on employees. However, with the right approach, it is possible to maintain good physical and mental health while working a FIFO roster.

Here are some tips and advice for maintaining good health while working a FIFO roster.

1/ Prioritise Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime, and create a comfortable and dark environment for sleep.

2/ Stay Active

Physical activity is an excellent way to boost mood and reduce stress. Take advantage of the time off to engage in activities that you enjoy, such as running, cycling, or swimming.

3/ Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining good physical and mental health. Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and excessive sugar and caffeine consumption.

4/ Stay Connected

Being away from home and family can be difficult, but staying connected can help to reduce feelings of isolation. Make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones through phone calls, text messages, video chats, and social media.

5/ Manage Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress can be damaging to both physical and mental health. Take time to relax and unwind, find ways to manage stress, and try to maintain a positive attitude.

6/ Seek Help

If you are struggling with your mental or physical health, don't hesitate to seek help. Talk to a counsel or, psychologist or your GP if you are feeling overwhelmed, and use the Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) if your employer provides them.

  • Beyond Blue: A national organisation that provides information and support to help Australians achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. They can be reached by calling 1300 22 4636.
  • Lifeline Australia: A national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. They can be reached by calling 13 11 14.
  • This Is A Conversation Starter: TIACS is a free and confidential counselling service for truckies, tradies, rural, blue collar workers and those who care about them, available Australia-wide. Need a yarn? Give us a call or text to speak with a counsellor. Support Line 0488 846 988 - text at any time or call Mon-Fri | 8am-10pm AEST.

Working a FIFO roster in the mining industry can be challenging, but with the right approach, it is possible to maintain good physical and mental health. Remember to prioritise sleep, stay active, eat a balanced diet, stay connected, manage stress and seek help if needed. Maintaining good health is essential for not only your wellbeing but also for your ability to perform your job effectively and safely.

Pros of FIFO Mining Jobs

Pros of working a FIFO roster in the Australian mining industry include:

1/ High Earning Potential

FIFO positions in the mining industry often come with higher pay rates and generous benefits packages, such as accommodation and meals provided.

2/ Variety of Roles

FIFO positions are available in a wide range of roles, including operating heavy machinery and equipment, engineering, and management.

3. Career Advancement Opportunities

Many mining companies have a track record of promoting from within, providing opportunities for career advancement.

4/ Work-Life Balance

FIFO rosters often include extended time off, allowing workers to have a good balance between work and personal life.

5/ Travel Opportunities

FIFO positions offer the opportunity to work in different locations and see different parts of the country.

Cons of FIFO Mining Jobs

Cons of working a FIFO roster in the Australian mining industry include:

1/ Time Away from Family & Friends

Being away from home for extended periods can be difficult for workers with families or close personal relationships.

2/ Isolation

Living and working in remote locations can be isolating and may not be suitable for some people.

3/ Long Working Hours

FIFO rosters often involve long working hours, with shifts that can be physically and mentally demanding.

4/ Time Zone Changes

Workers may have to adapt to different time zones, which can be disruptive to their sleep and regular routines.

5/ Difficulty Planning Your Personal Life

FIFO rosters can change frequently and make it difficult to plan your personal life and commit to future events or activities.

FIFO Hubs & Destinations

Queensland and Western Australia are home to some of Australia’s largest mining operations and mineral exploration projects. As a result, Brisbane and Perth have become two of the major FIFO hubs on the east and west coasts, respectively.

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