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FIFO Mining Jobs

Fly-in-Fly-out mining jobs has helped solve the problem of getting mining workers to remote locations in Western Australia and helped stop an employee having to relocate their family to a town near the work site. FlFO means the employee is flown to the work site where they work for a number of days on roster and are then flown back to their home town for a number of days of rest.
These types of mining jobs are common in WA as many of the mines are located in remote areas far from residential towns. Often the cost of establishing a permanent settlement for workers exceeds the cost of airfares and temporary housing on the mine site and has meant in Western Australia, FIFO mining jobs have been adopted as normal practice.


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Employment in the mining industry does require a lot of FIFO workers, due to the cost of establishing a liveable community close to the mine site that could become vulnerable if the mine was eventually to close, leaving families and businesses stranded in a town that has lost its main source of income.

Rosters Work/Life Balance

Working a FIFO roster is a lifestyle choice and mining companies work hard to make mine sites living an enticing prospect for potential workers. Villages are normally of a high standard and can be anything from small portable homes right through to luxury hotel-type accommodation to ensure employees enjoy a quality lifestyle while they are away from home. Employees have their own air-conditioned accommodation units, with en-suite bathrooms, television, telephone and internet connection as well as onsite cleaners.
Usually mining jobs involve working a long shift for a number of continuous days with all days off accumulated and spent at home rather than at the work site. As the employee's work days are almost entirely taken up by working, sleeping and eating, there is often not a lot of time for other activities; however companies are increasingly offering facilities such as pools, tennis courts and gyms as a way of attracting and retaining skilled staff.


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A typical FIFO roster in mining is 2 weeks on, 1 week off. More remote mining sites may stipulate longer term rosters, this is due to the increased time and costs of flying workers to and from remote areas. Sites closer to city areas and major airports often allow shorter rosters such as 2 days on, 2 days off. Other common roster periods are 9 days on, 5 days off or 6 days on, 4 days off.
A 12-hour shift is common but you may be asked to work even more hours, with 18-hour shifts are not unheard of.  While on-site, shifts are scheduled 7 days a week. Longer rosters such as month on, month off rosters may allow one day’s rest every second weekend. Most rosters, however, require staff to work every day while on site.
When negotiating a FIFO roster, give careful consideration to your coping abilities. Can you cope with living for extended periods on a mine site, or would you prefer shorter on-site stays? Are you willing to work a combination of day and night shifts, or would you prefer to work only during the day?


What are the Benefits?

People choose FIFO jobs for many reasons, with mining companies liking the choice of skilled individuals who would otherwise be unwilling to relocate to remote areas. Work is competitive, so a strong job application is important. Many jobseekers are finding that professional resume writers can really help them make it to that all important interview. Once you land that all important FIFO job, there are many benefits:

  • Financial rewards can be great with mining companies paying significant travel and living allowances on top of excellent base salaries.
  • Live where you want as the skills shortage in WA and Australia means mining companies are willing to fly workers from just about any location. Workers can even live interstate in the location of their choice while continuing to enjoy a mining career.
  • Long breaks between shifts give people the chance to travel, pursue hobbies and spend quality time with friends and family.
  • Moving jobs is easier as there is minimal disruption to family and home life. Having a fixed home base and flexible working arrangements makes it easy for people to change jobs and employers when a project ends.

What are the Negative Aspects of FIFO Jobs?

It does creates challenges for the workers themselves, but also for the friends and family they leave behind. These include:
  • Extended periods away from your family, children and friends can put stress on a marriage or relationship.
  • Working long hours or shiftwork can affect your body clock, making sleeping difficult and it takes time to adapt to changing rosters and work/family routines.
  • There can be a very intense “Monday morning” feeling when leaving family to go back to work and prolonged periods away.
  • Roster changes make it hard to plan and commit to social events at home and you may miss important social and family events.
FIFO work has a lot of benefits that make the negative aspects worthwhile and many people enjoy the lifestyle, making it a long term career choice. Other people choose to accept the challenges for a short period of time, in the hope of making fast financial gains.
If you’re considering this type of work, try to negotiate a roster that suits your work/life balance and lifestyle and you might want to join a FIFO family support group. Consider your ability to stand working long hours away from home, as well as your family’s ability to cope without you, before committing to any role offered.

Related topic pages: Mining Jobs WA | Mining Jobs Pilbara | FIFO Jobs | DIDO Jobs | Jobs at BHP | Jobs at Rio Tinto | FIFO Mining Jobs - Wikipedia

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