Building a Stronger Financial Future with Your Mining Job

Mining jobHaving a decent job in the mining industry puts you in the enviable position of setting up a secure financial future. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to provide a decent standard of living for yourself and your family, while working towards a nice retirement. In order to accomplish the goal of having stable finances it is imperative to protect your earnings and be proactive about your money management. Paying off bills and saving money is half the battle. Here are some thoughtful tips that can help you secure your financial future.

Don’t Settle for Your Current Position

Landing a decent mining job is a combination of having the right experience and skill sets. However, you can bolster your job security by constantly proving you’re the right person for the company. Notice we didn’t say, “The right person for the job.” That’s because you need be aware of your future within the company, including keeping an eye out for opportunities to move up internally.

At any given time, there could be room for advancement. Will you be ready to take advantage of those opportunities? This might require you taking additional training or certification to prove that you’re capable of filling the position. If you’re taking courses outside of the company, make sure that management is aware of your efforts. You’ll be demonstrating your willingness to continue to learn, a very valuable commodity for an employee. Who knows? They might even help foot the bill.

Keeping up with industry information is also a great way to stay educated and ahead of potential job competition. There are innovations in the mining industry that happen nearly every day. Subscribing to trade journals and keeping up with the news will keep you informed and may even point out other avenues for advancement in your career. The higher you climb, the greater your salary can become.

Stay in Good Shape

Your family and company depend on you to show up for work every day. This means you need to put in the extra effort to stay healthy. Are you still carrying around extra pounds your doctor wants you to shed? Lose them. Are you eating the right foods? Make the switch. Are you sticking to routine physical checkups? You should.

Even though your job can be physically demanding, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on exercise. Look for ways to work different muscle groups at the gym. Some good old-fashioned cardio exercise sessions never hurt. Additionally, don’t ignore all the benefits you will get from proper rest. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle will help everything else fall into place.

Find Strong Insurance

Part of planning your financial future should include acquiring a strong insurance policy. There are many decent income protection policies that can help in the case of a temporary injury. You can also buffer your pension plan by consulting with a financial planner and looking for other investment opportunities. Remember, you’re looking at the long term when it comes to your investments. This means a steady return will go a long way towards improving your personal bottom line.

The hard work of finding a job is over. Now, make your efforts count by turning that job into a solid and rewarding career.


Mining the Moon: How Your Mining Job Could Land You in Space

mining the moonMining the Moon: How Your Mining Job Could Land You in Space

“To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

That could just become your new mantra, as your current mining skills might actually land you in space. With every passing day, the earth’s population increases and the effect is an increasing strain on all of our natural resources. Therefore, it seems the question on everyone’s mind is – will we have enough fuel and minerals to see us through this century?

Some scientists and geologists are saying that private space exploration could lead to mining the moon or beyond, to alleviate the pressure on Earth’s natural resources. Even a passing asteroid could provide an abundance of raw resources and who better to tap into those astral veins than skilled mining operators?

Thanks to fallen fragments from space, scientists are able to determine the mineral components of various asteroids. A single platinum-rich heavenly body could provide more precious metal than what has ever been dug up on this planet. When you consider the vital role that platinum plays in reducing the price of electronics and improving electric circuit boards, then it becomes clear this is a commodity worth traveling into space for.

Far-fetched idea, you say? As it happens, a mining company named Planetary Resources has just been established by some very prominent entrepreneurs. This outer space enterprise was formed as a partnership between former Google executives and famed sci-fi cinema director James Cameron. Teaming with Virgin Galactic, they hope to hitch a ride on one of their sub-orbital crafts. That could be enough to propel a ship beyond earth’s orbit and into the flight path of a passing asteroid. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a mining mission being set up on one of those “rocks.”

Clearly, there will be a whole range of challenges to overcome when mining outer space. New technology and tools will have to be manufactured. And workers will need to train in zero gravity environments just like the astronauts question of who can claim ownership of an astral body.

As all of this is being sorted out, there will be numerous job opportunities for veteran workers who are willing to experiment with new methods and technologies. There will be a need for experienced workers who will be testing the limits of the technologies, including setting up safety standards. Current miners might even have a leg up on being selected for the astronaut training since they are already used to working in extreme conditions, while often utilizing an external breathing apparatus.

Although there might not be an immediate mission to Mars, the company is accepting applications for internships. Planetary Resources has put out the call for a couple of General Space Nuts. The application questions are meant to be taken in fun, with questions like “What name would you give a crash test dummy?” and “Are you a space nut? Prove it!”

All jokes aside, signing up to work with a company like this could present an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a very exciting venture. Remember, in 1961 we barely had a space program. Within eight years, we had landed a man on the moon.

Is mining in space really that far out?

Miner Operator Safety: What Every Miner Should Know

miner operator safety

Miner Operator Safety: What Every Miner Should Know

One of the most dangerous jobs for an underground miner operator is running a cumbersome piece of heavy equipment, known as a continuous miner (CM). With a large rotating drum equipped with coal cutting “teeth”, simply being in close proximity to these machines puts their operators at risk. These operators are also exposed to the dangers typically associated with mining, such as restricted and poorly ventilated workspaces and reduced visibility, which can hinder response time in recognizing and avoiding hazards.

Let’s take a closer look at two of the hazards miners need to be aware of when dealing with miner operator safety:

1)      Safety positions when operating continuous mining machinery;

2)      Black lung disease from restricted and poorly ventilated shafts.

Continuous Machinery Operation

A study done by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that operators predominantly chose locations that gave them the best view for their work. The clearest views were found from the operators post on haulage vehicles and at the center line of the machine, at the back. The areas with the greatest visual restrictions were the left edge of the cutting drum and the floor at the front of the machine.

The safest positions were found to be those furthest away from the machine, underneath a supported roof, locations with access to fresh air, and areas clear from any tripping hazards or haulage equipment. The two positions that were identified as best fulfilling these requirements were at the right of the drum and just near the cutting head bits of haulage vehicles. However, the operators only used these two locations 30% of the time; offering a limited view of the machine, these positions make it tempting for the operator to move closer in order to operate the machine without restriction.

Having a good field of view in order to operate the machinery at maximum efficiency is important; however, operators should always consider their safety first. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 4% of total mining accidents occur during continuous mining machine operations. These accidents are preventable and with proper training can be reduced.

Understanding Black Lung Disease

Another area of concern is the medical condition known as Pneumoconiosis or Black Lung Disease. Black Lung cannot be cured, but it can be prevented. Essentially, there are two levels of this disease:

  • Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP)
  • Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF)

In both cases, the lung is damaged through the persistent inhalation of coal dust. Because of inhaling the dust, the air sacs can become inflamed. This leads to tissue scarring and difficulty breathing. The most common symptoms of either type of Pneumoconiosis are persistent coughing and shortness of breath. The proper way to diagnose the condition is with a chest X-ray or pulmonary function tests administered by a healthcare professional. Some mines offer free chest x-rays, a program that all workers should take advantage of, as detecting early signs of lung disease can go a long way towards halting the progress.

There are treatments available to moderate the symptoms of Black Lung, but this condition can never be cured; once the lungs are damaged, the effects cannot be reversed.

Preventive Measures

The first line of defense against Black Lung Disease is for miners to utilize a proper respirator mask. The mask should fit securely over the face, be kept clean, and be used anytime the worker is in the mine. There are additional measures that can be put into practice to minimize the chances of developing the condition.

Consider the following:

  • Any time coal dust comes in contact with skin, it should be washed off with soap and water as quickly as possible;
  • Work clothes covered with coal dust should be removed in a safe removal room at the end of shift. Whoever is doing the laundry will also need to be cautious.
  • After handling coal dust, hands and forearms should be wash before meals, going to the bathroom, taking a smoke break or ingesting any medication;
  • Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in any work area that has coal dust present.

Being Aware

Beyond the preventive measures, there are other points that should always be checked off of safety checklists for miner operators. For instance, at the beginning of a shift, the respiratory dust controls should be examined to make sure they are in proper working order. Workers should be familiar with the dust scrubber and whether or not it has received the proper upkeep and maintenance. Ensuring that all water sprays are functioning at peak performance levels and being aware of the dust sampling results of their work areas are also important safety precautions mine workers should take. Don’t take your safety for granted and always be aware.

Quebec Raises Mining Taxes In The Province

mining taxesWhat is worse – getting slapped with a tax that is lower than was expected or getting slapped with any tax?

Obviously, no business wants to be burdened with additional taxes, but it appears there is a new taxation scheme targeted at Quebec mining operations with the goal of bringing additional (and much needed) revenues for the Quebec government that can’t be avoided. The good news is that this negotiated plan appears to be a lot less severe than the one proposed on the campaign trail last year.

The goal of the next taxation plan is to collect upwards of $1.8 billion in revenue over the next 12 years. To get there the mining industry has a few options. Companies can opt for either fixed mining taxes or a tax on profit. With the fixed tax option a company would pay 1% on operations that have generated less than $80 billion of product. For those companies who have produced more the tax would jump to 4%.

With the profit tax option, the tax would be 16% on mines that reaped a profit margin of less than 35%. Any profit margin that jumps to more than 50% will have to pay as much as 28% in additional taxes. Clearly, this is all going to keep the mining company accountants busy crunching the numbers.

All of this doesn’t seem as harsh as the original proposal put forth by Premier Pauline Marois when she was running for office. That plan included a sweeping 5% royalty on metal production, and a 30% hit on what was referred to as any “super-profits.” If all goes according to plan there would be a boost into the government’s coffers of $370-million in 2015. That would be up from the projected $320-million.

The early consensus from the mining industry appears to be, “It could have been worse but it’s still a tax.” The new tax plan is expected to be signed into law and go into effect in January.