PLEASE NOTE: Job profile content may reflect pre-COVID-19 conditions.

Miner/​Quarry Worker

Kaimahi Huke Kōwaro

Alternative titles for this job

Miners and quarry workers operate machinery, vehicles and equipment to extract and process minerals and rocks.


Quarry workers usually earn

$60K-$80K per year

Miners usually earn

$80K-$150K per year

Source: MITO and Minex, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job are average for miners and good for quarry workers, due to demand for minerals and building materials.


Pay for miners and quarry workers varies depending on experience and level of responsibility.

  • Quarry workers usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
  • Miners usually earn between $80,000 and $150,000 a year.

Sources: MITO, 2018; Minex National Health and Safety Council, 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Miners and quarry workers may do some or all of the following:

  • extract, process and transport minerals or rocks
  • maintain, repair and operate mining or quarrying machinery
  • construct underground tunnels and install ventilation and roof supports
  • prepare and maintain roadways within the work area
  • set fuses and detonate explosives
  • carry out safety checks on air quality, machinery, equipment, vehicles and work areas
  • keep records of hazards.

Skills and knowledge

Miners and quarry workers need to have knowledge of:

  • different mining or quarrying methods
  • how to operate mining or quarrying machinery
  • how to handle explosives and blasting
  • mechanical skills to diagnose faults and carry out basic repairs
  • health and safety regulations
  • environmental regulations.

Working conditions

Miners and quarry workers:

  • often work long hours and usually do shift work, including nights, weekends and being on call
  • work in conditions that may be hazardous, noisy and dirty
  • work in cramped or confined conditions in underground mines, or varied weather conditions in opencast mines and quarries.

What's the job really like?

Quarry Operator video

Natalya Pussell talks about life as a quarry operator – 1.09 mins

Hi, my name's Natalya. I'm a quarry operator.
I drive this 40-tonne dump truck, moving products around the quarry.
I also help with maintenance on the plant,
keeping the area nice and tidy and safe.
I get to drive this.I am emptying chip bits from the plant that has just been crushed.
It's making seal chip concrete. I first started in the control room,
operating the plant, crushing the rocks.
I then moved on to the dump truck. I like driving this.
I was a little bit nervous when I first started,
but with some practice and training, I'm competent in this machine.
I really enjoy driving it.
I like to keep it clean and maintain it.
I'm really grateful for time in the seat in these machines. Career wise,
I'd like to have time in the seat of the other machines that they have to offer.

Entry requirements

To become a miner or quarry worker you need to have a full driver's licence and pass drug and alcohol tests.

A heavy vehicle licence and a first aid certificate is useful.

Some employers may expect you to complete a relevant qualification such as a New Zealand Certificate in Mining and Quarrying (Level 2) while working.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a miner or quarry worker. However maths, construction and mechanical technologies, geography and physical education are useful.

Personal requirements

Miners and quarry workers need to be:

  • safety-conscious and able to remain calm in emergencies
  • able to work well under pressure
  • comfortable working underground, and in cramped conditions
  • able to follow instructions, but capable of acting on their own initiative
  • responsible, disciplined and able to work in a team
  • efficient and practical.

Useful experience

Useful experience for miners includes:

  • operating machinery
  • driving heavy vehicles
  • work in the construction industry
  • engineering or general labouring.

Physical requirements

Miners and quarry workers need to have a good level of fitness and must be strong as they work with heavy equipment. Miners must pass a physical examination every six months.

Miners and quarry workers may also be required to undergo regular drug and alcohol tests.

Find out more about training

0800 882 121 -


Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Limited opportunities for miners may improve

Opportunities for miners in New Zealand have declined since 2014 and around 600 jobs have been lost in the coal mining industry.

This is due to:

  • poor prices for coal, oil and gold worldwide
  • limits on land for mining
  • closure of a major coal mining company.

However, opportunities for miners are still average and likely to increase due to:

  • an expected price rise for coal, gold and oil
  • new mines opening 
  • miners leaving to find better paid work in Australia
  • an ageing workforce, so many miners will retire soon.

According to the Census, 576 miners worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Construction boom creates good demand for quarry workers

Opportunities for quarry workers are good, with a 3% increase in jobs since 2007.

This is due to our construction boom, which has created high demand for building materials such as aggregates (the rocks used to make concrete).

Chances of getting a job as a quarry worker are expected to stay good until 2023, as the demand for building materials continues and older quarry workers retire, leaving vacancies.

There are currently around 1,900 people working in quarrying.

Types of employers varied

Miners and quarry workers' employers vary from small quarries that employ two people to large quarries and mines that employ hundreds of staff.


  • Collins, B, 'Everyone Wants to see any Job Opportunity', 23 November 2017, (
  • Mito, 'Mining 2017','Quarrying 2017',2017, (
  • McDonald, L, 'Industries Fear Effects of new Government's Environmental Stance', 9 November 2017, (
  • Parton, R, CEO, The Aggregate and Quarry Association of New Zealand, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
  • Scanlon, L, 'Stockton Mine Workers to Keep Jobs', 28 June 2017, (
  • Scott, W, CEO, Minex National Health and Safety Council, Careers Directorate - Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
  • Stats NZ, '2108 Census Data', 2019.
  • Stats NZ, 'Primary Sector Weakens', 21 September 2017, (
  • Stuff, 'New Zealand's Coal Exports are on the Decline', 2 October 2017, (
  • World Bank, 'Commodity Prices Likely to Rise Further in 2018: World Bank', 26 October 2017, (

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Miners and quarry workers may progress into jobs in supervision, management and engineering.

A crushing machine crushes rocks in a quarry while a man driving a loader lifts up the crushed rocks with the shovel of the loader.

Miners/quarry workers may drive heavy vehicles to move rocks

Last updated 7 November 2023