A Mining Career Could Take You All Over The World


As a recruiter, I’ve searched for professionals to fill roles with clients across the globe, in a wide variety of industries.

One industry has truly stood out in terms of the opportunities it presents to work abroad: mining.

I’ve encountered Mining Engineers who have been able to work their way around the world on amazing projects in the most remote corners of the earth.

If you are looking to experience different countries and cultures, you should consider a career in mining!

You can certainly work for the head office of a mining company without leaving the confines of big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. But if Bay Street isn’t your style, a mining career could be your ticket to adventure in remote, rugged locations both in Canada and abroad.

For example, Canadian mining company Teck Resources has mine sites from the Red Dog zinc-lead mine in northwestern Alaska, to the Quebrada Blanca mine in northern Chile. Goldcorp’s largest operation is their Red Lake site in northern Ontario, but their operations also span to multiple sites in Mexico, if you prefer sun over snowshoes.

As you may suspect, mining companies often hire young professionals with backgrounds in engineering and geology, but those are not the only opportunities to make a career in the industry.

Long before mines are producing tons of precious metals per day, there are thousands of workers required to create the budgets, do the legal legwork and bring the mine into production.

Often, mining companies will hire surveyors, engineers and geologists for a few years to support the design and build of a mine, and then they’ll move on to a different project. These lucky folks get to travel around the world and spend a few years in Australia before moving onto their next project in Panama. When the mine is actually operational, all sorts of support staff to keep the mine operations running smoothly – health and safety experts, information technology professionals, and skilled trades, to name a few.

So, even if you’re looking to launch a career in human resources, for example, there are opportunities for you in the mining industry. Working in remote locations and new countries may present challenges that working in a cubicle may not (like being a few hundred kilometres from the nearest Starbucks), it also provides the opportunity to be exposed to new cultures while gaining experience in an exciting and innovative industry.

How does one land an overseas job in mining?

  • Research mining companies on TalentEgg. Many Canadian mining companies offer new grad programs that allow for rotations across the country and internationally, so do some research on which new grad programs would be best for you and apply!
  • If you want to track down information on where in the world you could work, a quick search will help you dig up all sorts of mining knowledge. Interested in surface mines, or would you prefer underground? You can find out which specific types of mine operations are out there, where they’re located and who owns them.

Once you’ve done all your research, updated your passport and applied to jobs that are of interest to you in your choice exotic locale, here are some things to keep in mind while you’re trying to land your overseas job:

  • Getting a job in Canada can sometimes take weeks or months, so expect that an overseas job will take longer. Time zone differences can make scheduling interviews a real challenge. Be accommodating with your recruiting contacts.
  • Once you’ve landed a job offer, recognize that arranging visas, travel plans and living arrangements can take plenty of time and mountains paperwork. Be patient and use this time to plan for all your exciting overseas adventures!

Where in the world do you want your mining career to take you?

Mining Week - student and entry level jobs in mining from companies like Vale, Goldcorp, Barrick and BHP Billiton

Photo credit: splityarn

About the author

Ashleigh Trahan is a Toronto-based recruiter and freelance writer. She is one of those pesky Gen-Y's that believes making a living and doing what you love don't have to be mutually exclusive. She's a fast talker, avid runner, and her fine arts degree makes her a formidable opponent in the game of Pictionary. You can connect with her @ashleightrahan.