Quarry worker

Quarry operative, opencast mine worker, opencast miner

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Quarry workers dig out and process rock, slate, gravel and sand from quarries or mines.

Salary Range: £16,000 to £25,000

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How to become a quarry worker

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a mineral processing mobile and static plant operator.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

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Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got experience or qualifications in construction, mining, or operating heavy machinery like mechanical diggers.

More information

Career tips

A relevant driving licence, for example a large goods vehicle or plant operator’s licence, may give you an advantage when looking for work.

Further information

You can get more advice about working in the quarrying industry from Careers in Quarrying.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work on your own
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • have a driving licence that includes LGV for lorries, or PCV for buses, if you work with these vehicles

You may need your own transport to get to work, as quarries are usually in the countryside.

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • using mechanical diggers to excavate rock, clay, sand, gravel and slate
  • operating equipment like rock crushers and stone graders
  • using drilling equipment
  • maintaining vehicles and machinery
  • setting and detonating explosives
  • transporting materials in large trucks

Working environment

You could work at a quarry.

Your working environment may be cramped, physically demanding, dusty and dirty.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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Career path and progression

With training and experience, you could become a site supervisor, mineral products technician or quarry manager. You could also move into:

  • quality control
  • explosives work – shotfiring
  • health and safety inspection
  • machine and plant maintenance
  • laboratory work like testing samples

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