A mining electrician is someone qualified to install, repair, maintain, test and inspect the electrical equipment and systems used in mining operations.
Mining electricians are responsible for the installation and maintenance of electrical systems within underground mines. They ensure the relevant equipment is functioning properly and is safe in accordance with the site’s Occupational Health and Safety standards. A mining electrician must have the ability to read blueprints and schematics and understand electrical codes and regulations. They must possess deep knowledge of electric theory, need to be able to identify and troubleshoot potential hazards and rectify them as quickly as possible. Typically, they are responsible for installing, testing, maintaining, repairing and reporting on all electrical equipment used throughout mineral, gold and coal mines.
What are the tasks of a mining electrician?
Mining electricians are responsible for inspecting, isolating, troubleshooting, and repairing all electrical components so that electric power is available at all times without interruption. In addition to handling the overall installation and maintenance of electrical systems, they ensure that all electrical components on-site perform optimally and safely. They must be able to install, maintain and repair specialised electrical mining equipment, and ensure that electronic circuit boards, chips, processors, as well as hardware and software – including programming and other applications – are functioning correctly. Often, mining electricians must also test and install other electrical systems used in operations, such as ventilation and lighting.
An electrical miner prepares electrical materials and equipment for projects, which can include cutting metal and the fabrication of wire or cable. Maintaining records of work performed and materials used in any repairs is also a critical requirement of the role. These specialist electricians need to review and understand equipment manuals and review both blueprints and drawings to determine the electric requirements for any project being undertaken. They take great care that any repairs performed on damaged equipment is done properly and in line with OH&S standards. An understanding of schematic drawings and electrical circuit diagrams is a must.
They will need to analyse electrical loads to assess the need for additional wiring and understand the principles of electrical circuits and associated risks. In underground mining environments, these electrical specialists will often need to conduct hazard assessments and obtain the required permits before work commences. Other common duties include writing detailed technical reports and designing plans for the layout of new systems. Mining electricians typically work closely with their site’s mining engineers.
What is the difference between a mining electrician and a mining technician?
Although the job title and profile of a mining electrician and mining technician sound similar, they are very different jobs. Technicians are involved in the care and repair of electrical systems, whereas fully qualified electricians are responsible for building and installing them.
Mining Technicians work on systems with guidance from blueprints and schematics. Generally, technicians gain most of their skills through on the job work experience. In most countries, there is no specific course or formal qualifications to become a mining technician. In comparison, a mining electrician training is more intensive and requires the completion of a formal electrical apprenticeship. Apprentice electricians need to accumulate a large sum of supervised working hours in combination with exam-based testing before they become a fully qualified electrician. As a result, mining electricians tend to receive a higher salary than mining technicians.