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Summary of occupation

Shotfirers usually decide on the quantity of explosives required and check blasting areas to make sure they have met safety regulations before positioning explosives in bore holes and priming explosives using detonators and explosive cartridges. 

They connect the wires, fuses and detonating cords to explosive cartridges and detonators, making sure they test electrical circuits and repair any malfunctions before detonating the explosives. 

They will inspect the area to make sure all explosives have been detonated and that the site is safe after blasting has been completed.

Work will involve frequent squatting or crouching, twisting of the body and bending.

ANZSCO description: Assembles, positions and detonates explosives at a mining or demolition site. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Blaster, Powder monkey, Mining Shotfirer, Tunnelling shotfirer
Specialisations: Fireworks and pyrotechnics, Quarry and open-cut mining shotfirer, Seismic blaster, Submarine (Underwater) blaster, Construction shotfirer, Agricultural blaster, Tunnelling and underground mining shotfirer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A shotfirer needs to:

  • adhere to strict safety requirements;
  • enjoy practical and manual activities;
  • be physically and mentally fit;
  • be able to pass a medical examination;
  • be able to work in confined spaces, including underground;
  • have basic skills in maths and science;
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Working conditions

Shotfirers usually work outdoors or underground in underground mines, opencast mines, quarries and demolition sites.  Shotfirers may be required to work underground at considerable depth in cramped conditions.  They may also be required to work in remote areas where conditions can be hot, wet, dirty and dusty.

Workers wear protective clothing such as hard hats, safety boots and other safety equipment.  Shotfirers may be required to work shifts.

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Salary details

On average, drillers, miners and shotfirers can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a shotfirer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Shotfirers are required to use a range of tools and technologies including hand tools and power equipment such as explosives, detonators, drills, bores, chisels, pliers and detonators

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To work as a shotfirer in Western Australia (WA) you must complete specialised training and obtain a shotfiring licence from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. The Department maintains a list of training providers accredited to deliver the necessary training. Training delivered by providers not on this list will not be accepted as evidence of competency for a shotfirer licence application.

​To be eligible for a shotfirer’s licence you must be at least 18 years of age, hold a current WA Dangerous Goods Security Card or recognised security clearance, and pass a medical assessment and a National Police Check.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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