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How has mining changed in the past 50 years

In the last 50 years, there have been some radical changes within the industry. Once upon a time, a normal day was carrying a hangover while operating equipment and heavy machinery. Thankfully, safety is a more serious matter and the stories of days gone by and truly gone.


Once upon a time, women were a rare sight in the mining industry. Now? They make up 20% of the workforce. At one point, women who were in mining were stuck in men’s uniforms as there were no other options available. Here we are, decades later and gone are “female blocks”, now mining camps offer single person quarters. Equality and diversity are the standard in mining companies, and many facilities offer childcare facilities.


Of course, technology has also had a hand in the changes. With pneumatic rigs being replaced by electric hydraulic rigs. That was the first major shift. Now, there are a lot of jobs that are being automated. Luckily, the automation is tackling the most dangerous jobs, making workers safer. Driverless trucks being one of the biggest changes.


Still, safety is a fairly new focus for the mining industry. Despite that, it now informs pretty much every decision that is made in the industry. While once the safety officer job was seen as a job anyone could do, now it’s considered the specialist task that it really is. Safety has become a core value.


Another major shift has been in the attitude towards alcohol use. While camps do have alcohol available, employees must take a breath test before their shift begins. That was unheard of in decades gone by. Once upon a time, they would drink into the early hours of the morning and then go operate heavy machinery. Not only are their breath tests before every shift, but random drug tests are also given. If you test positive, you will be dismissed immediately.

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