A miner's job is to operate specialist equipment to excavate, load and transport coal, rock and ore in open cut or underground mining operations. Both open cut and underground miners can specialise as jumbo and longhole drill operators, airleg miners, longwall miner operators, continuous mining machine operators, development machine miners or mechanical bogger operators.
Some miners do not actually dig out the coal, rock, or ore. Their job is to build tunnels that make digging possible or to protect other workers from hazards. Before miners begin digging underground the work area is checked to make sure it has a safe roof support, a good air supply and no dangerous gases. The rock dust machine operator will spray the walls and floors with limestone to lessen the chance of coal dust causing breathing problems or exploding. Stopping builders will then put up walls and other structures to allow air to flow directly into work areas.
Some typical tasks performed by miners include cutting drives into the ore body using specialist equipment and extracting coal or ore by blasting, drilling or excavating. Then they will often load the ore into trucks, mine cars or conveyors for it to be transported to the stockpile or mine surface. They may also have to undertake development work to open up new shafts, air vents, drives and rises. In addition, miners might also be required to install lighting, pumps and other equipment to service the mine. Operating auxiliary plants like pumps to expel water, air and mud is also part of the role.