£22,880 Average salary at age 20
£34,840 Average Salary
54 Average hours per week


Coal mine operatives detonate charges and use cutting equipment to extract coal from coal faces, build and dismantle roof and wall supports in underground coal workings, and transport coal and other material from the coal face.

Main Tasks

  • Uses machine or portable drill to drill holes to required depth for blasting, bursting, release of gas or water infusion;
  • Inserts and compacts appropriate explosive, primer and detonator in drilling hole and detonates charge to break and loosen coal and rock from solid formations;
  • Operates heading, ripping and coal cutting-loading machines to remove material from working face and monitors conveyor carrying away loose material;
  • Cleans machinery, equipment and tools and maintains refuge holes, roads and airways;
  • Erects permanent and temporary wall and roof supports from dry stone material, timber and metal, withdraws supports and serviceable material/ equipment from worked out or abandoned faces;
  • Stows waste in area from which coal has been removed using feed hopper or stowing machine;
  • Conveys goods and materials to and from coal face and work areas, loads and unloads mine cars and transfers materials from underground and surface conveyors to bunkers, tubs and rail trucks.


There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is provided through specialised courses. NVQs/SVQs in Process Operations (Extraction Industries) are available. There is a minimum age limit of 18 years for underground work.

UK Prospects

5.79% Predicted decline 2024 - 2027
152 Predicted Replacement 2024 - 2027

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