South Africa’s Mining Qualifications Authority, as well as the South African government in 2020, identified and listed critical skills for the country, which likely pertain to other African nations. Meanwhile, Australia’s mining industry currently has a huge skills gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s decision in 2020 to temporarily close its borders to foreigners, including foreign workers.

Now, Australia is seeking foreigners from South Africa and beyond to join its mining workforce. Engineers are the most sought-after skill in the Australian mines, but there is also a large demand for individuals with skills in trades, including entry-level trade assistants and labourers.

Here are we give you an extensive list of scarce skills and qualifications that will likely get you a skilled trade job in the mines of South Africa and Australia in 2021. There are over 50 of these listed in South Africa and at least 18 in Australia, with huge opportunities for general trade workers in both open-cast and underground mines. Read on to view the lists.

What roles count as trade jobs?

A trade job is an occupation that is not taught in university, or, if it is, it does not necessarily require a university degree. Instead, trade professionals typically learn their skills through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, or at a vocational trade college. A skilled trade job is usually one that involves working in the fields of construction, manufacturing, or extraction, and involve years of specialised training, knowledge, and skills. However, there are plenty of entry-level positions that require trade skills.

In-demand Trade Skills in South Africa’s Mining Industry:

Heavy Equipment Operations

  • Front-end-loader Operator/ Loader Driver /Load-haul-dump (LHD) Operator
  • Cement Kiln Operator
  • Blaster/Mining/Quarrying Blaster
  • Bulldozer Operator
  • Crane Driver/Crane or Hoist Operator/Onsetter/Winding Engine Driver
  • Dragline Operator
  • Drill Rig Operator/Driller/Drilling Plant Operator
  • Dump Truck Driver/Operator
  • Haul Truck Operator
  • Locomotive Driver
  • Machine Operator (Stone Cutting or Processing)
  • Excavator Operator
  • Hydraulic Rock Breaker Operator
  • Shovel Operator
  • Miner (Underground and Surface) / Rockbreaker / Shaft Timberman
  • Mining Driver
  • Mining Operator / Mining Plant Operator / Roof Bolter (Mining)
  • Mobile Mining Equipment Operator
  • Roof bolter Operator
  • Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM) Operator
  • Rock Drill Operator
  • Truck Driver (general)


  • Goldsmith
  • Painter
  • Fitters: Hydraulic, Maintenance, Machine, Mechanical
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter-welder
  • Fitter Machinist
  • Carpenter and Joiner
  • Mechanical Fabricator
  • Boilermaker/Boilermaker-welder/Plater-boilermaker
  • Diesel-fitter Mechanic
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Earthmoving Equipment Mechanic
  • Draughtsperson
  • Electrical Mechanic
  • Millwright
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic
  • Instrument Mechanic
  • Rigger/Rigger Ropesman
  • Plant Maintenance Mechanic
  • Railway Shunter


  • Mechatronics Technician
  • Energy Technician
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Electrical Instrument Technician
  • Electromechanician
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Mechanical Instrument Technician
  • Mineral Resource Technician / Geological Technician
  • Instrument Mechanician
  • Mine Planning Technician
  • Mine Technician
  • Rock Engineering Technician


  • Electronics Engineering Technologist
  • Instrumentation Technologist
  • Civil Engineering Technologist
  • Construction Technologist
  • Process Design Technologist

In-demand Trade Skills in Australia’s Mining Industry:

  • Driller
  • Shot Firer
  • Metal Fitter and Machinist
  • Truck Driver
  • Engineering and other Building Technician
  • Electrician
  • Mechanical Fitter
  • Boilermaker
  • Mobile Plant Operator
  • Heavy Diesel (HD) Fitter
  • Construction Worker
  • Labourer/Trades Assistant
  • Driller Off-sider
  • Blast Helper
  • Mechanic’s Helper
  • Welder
  • Painter
  • Electronics Trades Worker

Are you seeking a skilled trade job in the mining industry in Australia or South Africa, or in other African countries? Visit CA Mining’s Africa Jobs Portal to see the latest opportunities on the continent.