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Residential Living in a Mining Town – Pros and Cons


If you’re considering a job in mining, you may be weighing up the pros and cons of residential living versus FIFO or DIDO arrangements. Residential mining jobs allow you to live permanently near the mine, in your own home. Due to the remote locations of most mine sites, this typically entails living in a small mining community.

Residential Living – Pros

Whether or not you’ll enjoy living in a small mining town depends a lot on your lifestyle preferences. If you enjoy a quiet lifestyle in a close-knit community, then a residential mining role could be a perfect fit for you. If you’re not 100% convinced, there are other advantages to consider
  • Live in your own home. Living locally allows you to set up your home just the way you like it. You can sleep in your own bed and enjoy your favourite couch at the end of each day. 
  • Standard working hours. Living residentially, you will be more likely to be rostered for a standard 40-hour working week,  with 2 days off on weekends instead of the 12 hour days, 7 days a week FIFO workers have. 
  • See your family every day. This is the biggest reason people move to mining towns. Married couples often decide to sacrifice city life for the sake of seeing each other every day. Parents who work on the mine want to see their children every day and residential living makes this possible.
  • Make lasting friendships. Because mining towns are small, close-knit communities, it’s not uncommon to develop lasting friendships. This is especially true if you enjoy meeting new people and becoming involved in community activities.
  • Reap financial rewards. For people not willing to embrace a FIFO lifestyle, living close to a mine is the only way to secure a high income mining job. In addition to excellent salaries, people living in remote areas may also receive tax concessions and remote area financial assistance.
  • Increased job prospects. Socially conscious mining companies often prefer to hire local residents. Living local may improve your chances of securing a job with your preferred employer.

Residential Living – Cons

Although some people love living in a mining town, others find it unbearable. Some of the challenges people face include:
  • Expensive accommodation. Small mining towns often don’t have the housing required to accommodate the thousands of workers a mine site requires. Property developers find it difficult to build new housing fast enough. This is made more difficult by residential buffer zones which often exist around mine sites, restricting the land available for new housing development. The end result of this low-supply, high-demand is expensive accommodation.
  • Expensive food and petrol. The cost of supplying food and petrol to remote areas is borne by the consumer. If you’re planning on moving to a mining town, expect to pay a premium for food, petrol, medicines and other consumables.
  • Lack of educational facilities. Although good public schooling is usually available, if you’re a parent who would prefer private schooling for your children, you will not have many options. In addition, older children pursuing tertiary education will need to travel to city areas.
  • Low quality/supply of essential services. Smaller towns generally lack essential services such as hospitals. If someone in your family has an ongoing medical condition, residential living in a mining town may not be a wise choice.
  • Harsh environment. Mine sites are typically located in remote, undeveloped areas. Although your home might be air-conditioned and comfortable, you should expect unsealed roads, dirt, dust, extreme heat and flies. Many areas are also prone to cyclones.
  • Lack of Entertainment. Mining towns are renowned for their quiet, country feel. Night-life is non-existent and there are no night-clubs or large shopping centres. If you love the city, going to the cinemas and shopping, then a mining town might not be for you.

In Summary

When considering a residential mining job, it’s important to be completely aware of the advantages and disadvantages before you move. This is especially true if you are relocating with your family. Residential living is an excellent option for people wanting to reap the benefits of high income mining employment without committing to an exhausting FIFO arrangement.

For more important information about what it’s like to work on-site in the construction industry, check out our Construction Lifestyle Guide.
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