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What to expect living on a mine site in Australia

living on a mine site and taking up a FIFO lifestyle
Living on a mine site can be challenging so it's great to educate yourself

It’s no surprise that many people are interested in joining the mining community and taking up a mining lifestyle. Salaries are as much as 60% larger than other industries, but there are a few things you should consider before taking the plunge into a FIFO life (Fly in Fly Out) lifestyle.

There are many positions that will require you to live on a mine site permanently and there are others that . may have you living on site for a month, so you should know what type of lifestyle you will be living.

  • Facilities – many sites offer a gym, which encourages exercise to improve fitness levels and mental health. The larger sites may also have bowling greens, swimming pools, and driving ranges for golf lovers. Additionally, you will find a canteen where all of your meals are cooked for you. This is where you’ll enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at any time of day. Many (if not most) sites provide pay TV, as well as an internet connection and landline. You can entertain yourself, and keep in touch with home as you participate in the mining lifestyle.
  • Cleaning – you will be accommodated in a donga, which will be cleaned at least twice a week by the cleaning service staff. So, you don’t need to worry about cooking or cleaning once you finish your gruelling shift. You can kick back and relax.
  • Cost of living – with no time or facilities to go shopping, you can save money while you work away. You may find that there is a bar on site, however, this will be the only place where you can spend money. So, it’s essentially a period of forced savings.


It’s important to remember that some of the smaller sites might not have the full range of facilities that we discussed above. The mining lifestyle is similar and even the smallest sites offer meals and some type of gym facility. With every pro, though, there is a con.

  • Long days – when you’re on site you will may be working 12 hour days and seven days a week. It can be exhausting.
  • Heat – generally, mines are in remote areas. It’s incredibly hot, there’s a lot of dust, and you may be annoyed by all the flies.
  • Food – while food is available all the time and free, it’s cooked in bulk and under a hot plate, so it’s not quite up to home cooking standards.
  • Remote & Repetitive – there’s nowhere to go and your routine is strict.
  • Alcohol – often, the work day starts with a breathalyser to ensure everyone is fit to work. So, it’s important you don’t overdo it.

It’s important to recognise that the mining lifestyle may not be for everyone.

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AMSJ April 2022