Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction

(NOC 7372)

in All Trades and Transportation

Drillers operate mobile drilling machines to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures. They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Job Outlook

Undetermined

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  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate openings due to growth and retirements not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 3400 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 42% of Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

N/A

Minimum

$32,307

Median

N/A

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$20.35

Median

$34.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Drillers operate mobile drilling machines to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures. They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Job duties

Drillers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Drive and operate tracked or truck-mounted rotary drilling, air-track or other drilling machines to bore large blast holes to specified depths at staked positions in open-pit mine or quarry.
  • Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites.
  • Operate tracked or truck-mounted drill equipped with auger or other attachment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings.
  • May measure location and stake out pattern of holes to be drilled, load blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock.

Blasters perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Read instructions or diagrams, lay out drill pattern and determine depth and diameter of blast holes and conduct field tests to determine type and quantity of explosives required.
  • Assemble or direct other workers to assemble primer charges using selected detonators, fuses, detonating cords and other materials.
  • Load explosives in blast holes by hand or direct movement of bulk explosives trucks to load holes.
  • Connect electrical wires, detonating cords or fuses into series and connect series to blasting machines; press handle or button to detonate charges.
  • Handle, store and transport explosives and accessories in accordance with regulations and ensure that safety procedures are observed.
  • May operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes or may direct drilling of blast holes.

Sample job titles

  • blaster (except underground mining)
  • construction blaster
  • construction driller
  • driller - quarrying
  • driller - surface mining
  • drilling machine operator - construction
  • quarry driller

Skills

For these jobs, you should have good physical strength, stamina, and health. The ability to follow precise instructions and obey safety regulations is essential. You must be cautious, responsible, and able to work as a member of a team. A mechanical aptitude and an ability to use tools would be helpful.

Job requirements

  • Completion of high school is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • Experience as a heavy equipment operator may be required for drillers.
  • Experience as a blaster helper in surface mining and quarrying or construction may be required for blasters.
  • Provincial blasting licence is usually required for blasters.

Other considerations

Drillers and blasters often perform both drilling and blasting activities. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

< 50

employed in 2016

91.7%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

0.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
100%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
41.8

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

88.8%

employed full-time

12.7%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

45.5%

Northern

27.3%

Halifax

18.2%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

75.0%

Construction

25.0%

Support for Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction

What is the age of Employment?

30.0%

45-54

30.0%

55-64

20.0%

35-44

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

34.1%

45-54

33.0%

35-44

18.7%

55-64

13.2%

25-34

Top levels of education

50.0%

Less than high school

$40,038 median annual income
33.3%

High school

$71,410 median annual income
16.7%

College certificate or diploma

$59,127 median annual income
16.7%

Trades certificate

$62,963 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.4%

Trades certificate

$40,890 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$28,089 median annual income
22.6%

College certificate or diploma

$39,023 median annual income
18.2%

Less than high school

$25,753 median annual income
2.7%

Bachelor's degree

$36,972 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Blaster

Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(800) 952-2687
(902) 424-5640
No contacts were found under this occupation profile

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