Recently we had the good fortune to spend the afternoon at the Argyle Diamond Mine. Of course we took the opportunity to ask lots of questions from an employee who has been associated with the mine for more than 25 years, here’s some of what we found out.
About Argyle Diamond Mine
Run by Australian mining company Rio Tinto, the Argyle Diamond Mine is located in the remote East Kimberly region of northern Western Australia. Originally an open cut mine, Argyle has transitioned into a fully operational underground mine.
Beginning more than 25 years ago, the Argyle Diamond mine is the largest diamond producer in the world by volume. The mine is expected to remain open until at least 2020, producing 20 million carats of diamond per year.
On any given shift there are hundreds of staff on site at the mine including employees, contractors and apprentices. The Argyle Diamond Mine is also an equal opportunity and female friendly workplace, with 40% of the current workforce made up of females.
Having worked in coal mines before (both underground and open cut), for me diamond mining has more appeal.
The general conditions were fairly similar to personal experiences in Mudgee (NSW) and Moranbah (Queensland), where safety is always paramount. Argyle is no exception, the safety regimes followed are world leading, ensuring minimal accidents and injuries on site.
Salary and Work Schedule
The minimum starting salary at the Argyle Diamond Mine is $80,000 a year. Employees also receive a range of benefits including study assistance, insurance, medical assistance, relocation assistance and even discounted diamonds!
Employees of the mine work on two week rotations, with two weeks spent at the mine followed by two weeks off. Shifts while working are for 12 hours, with a people transporter taking workers down into the mine for each shift.
The Argyle Diamond Mine gives employment preference to locals of the East Kimberley, however fly in, fly out (FIFO) is available from both Perth and Darwin.
On Site Accommodation & Facilities
The Argyle Diamond Mine provides accommodation at two sites for employees while working on site. Employees have their own resort style quarters, with the option of double accommodation for couples. Some rooms include a kitchenette and en-suite bathroom, while all room include air-conditioning, linen and television.
Each site provides laundry and dining facilities for employees at no cost, as well as a range of recreational and social facilities. At each site you will find a bar, deli, swimming pool, tennis, squash and basketball courts, table tennis tables, pool tables and gyms.
There are also a range of trails in and around the camp which can also be used for walking, jogging and riding. The Argyle Diamond Mine also has an active social club which organises regular live music, barbecues and trivia nights for employees.
The accommodation sites at the Argyle Diamond Mine are professionally cleaned, while catering provided provided by Spotlight is of a high quality. Both sites are also “dry”, meaning that no alcohol can be consumed on site.
Mature Aged Apprenticeships at Argyle Diamond Mine
The Argyle Diamond Mine offers both scholarships and mature aged apprenticeships. Currently there are two mature aged apprentices working at the mine, however this is expected to increase. The Argyle Diamond Mine and Rio Tinto also offer extensive training and study opportunities for employees to improve their skill set and progress in their careers.
Joining the Mining Industry
If you are a mature aged job seeker and are looking for a career change, a way to develop new skills, or a new and exciting adventure consider the range of opportunities available in the mining industry.
Having personally enjoyed two stints previously in the mining industry, the people were friendly, open, fun and welcoming.
One of the ladies we spoke to even met her husband at the mine! They roster on together, and make use of the accommodation for couples (no children), and then have 2 weeks off together. Sound like a good life to you?
If you find yourself at a loss as to what to do next from a career perspective and especially if you are in the mature-age bracket, consider the mining industry. Not only does the mining industry provide a range of benefits other employers cannot match, but you will make new friends and develop a strong foundation both financially and for your career.