What Do Continuous Mining Machine Operators Do?
The coal mining industry relies heavily on the expertise of continuous mining machine operators to handle self-propelled mining machines. These devices are crucial in the field so that miners can retrieve stones, rocks, coal, nonmetal ores and metals and load these materials onto a conveyor or into a shuttle car. Current projections do not forecast a whole lot of growth with this occupation. There is only expected to be around 260 job openings annually for continuous mining machine operators, and that does not really translate into any significant percentage change. Some states are more reliant on this profession than others, so it can be a good idea to do some research to find what states are projected the highest rate of growth.
Continuous Mining Machine Operators Skills and Abilities
Anyone entering this field should be familiar with the various machines and tools that need to be utilized for this job. However, in addition to simply knowing what these tools are used for, you should know how to safely use all of them to ensure that everyone remains safe on the worksite. Over time, these machines may break down, so you should know how to repair every piece of equipment effectively. You should also know how to troubleshoot issues so that you can determine if an item needs repair. Additional skills that can prove to be tremendously helpful include:
- Depth perception
- Selective attention
- Reaction time
- Control precision
- Arm-hand steadiness
Continuous Mining Machine Operators Duties
In addition to operating the various machines needed on mining sites, you will also be responsible for driving the machines into the appropriate positions. You will need to know how to determine the depths of the holes that need to be drilled as well as the boundaries you need to stay within. Repairing the machines is crucial in this line of work, and you should be comfortable with using wrenches and changing the cutting teeth. Every job site is different, but you can reasonably assume you will have some of the following responsibilities as well:
- Clean facilities and equipment.
- Apply new technologies to your worksite.
- Guide crews to carry out their jobs effectively.
- Install casings.
- Move levers to regulate movement.
Continuous Mining Machine Operators Tools and Technology
You should be familiar with some of the more basic tools like screwdrivers and adjustable wrenches. You should also know your way around a ventilation system, belt conveyor system and various types of continuous mining equipment. Part of your job may also entail you being behind a computer, and you will need to know how to use mobile location based service software.
Education and Training for Continuous Mining Machine Operators
Most people who decide to go into this field have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. There will be an ample amount of on-the-job training, so you will learn how to use all the pieces of equipment you will be responsible for. However, if you want to make yourself more attractive as a potential job candidate, you can partake in various instructional programs to become more proficient with operating heavy equipment.
Continuous Mining Machine Operators Salary
There is good money to be made in this specialized field. The lower tenth percentile, which generally consists of individuals who are just starting out, can expect to make around $15.10 an hour. The highest tenth percentile tends to be around $32.90 an hour, but the median wage is closer to $23.29/hour.
Continuous Mining Machine Operators Jobs by Geography
The states with the highest concentration of continuous mining machine operators are West Virginia, Nevada and Wyoming. The states with the highest annual mean wage include Wyoming, Nevada and Colorado. You should look at the states that are projected to experience the highest growth and provide the highest wages when deciding where to apply for a job in this field.