Will my criminal record affect my mining career?


Having a criminal record makes getting a job difficult. So how do you get a mining job if you have a record?

Anyone with a criminal record knows it can often throw up barriers to doing the things you want to do and achieving what you want to achieve.

Whether your criminal record is “ancient history” (perhaps a misspent youth you’ve long put behind you) or something more recent (maybe you’re not long out of prison and you’re making a fresh start), the reality is finding employment can be more difficult than it might be for other people with similar skills and abilities.

So, what about the mining industry? Will having a criminal record stop you getting a mining job?

You’ve probably already guessed, but it’s not a black-and-white answer. Firstly, here are some of the sorts of criminal histories that might cause a problem:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Assault
  • Stealing
  • Fraud
  • Serious driving-related charges (especially if you’re going for a job that involves driving)
  • Serious drug offences.

But, according to Shane Moore, MPI’s General Manager for Client Services and Major Project Delivery, it’s worth bearing in mind that each mining company, and mine site, has a different approach to which convictions they will and won’t accept.

“Ultimately if there is any question mark over whether a police clearance will be accepted or denied, it will come down to the senior management onsite to give sign-off,” he said. “If any offences have taken place over the last 10 years, they will all be scrutinised.”

And that’s the next big factor to consider: when was the criminal record earned?

How long ago was the criminal record earned?

Any mining industry employer is going to ask for a National Police Certificate (a “police clearance”) as part of the application process. But that doesn’t always have to be problematic.

If it has been more than 10 years from the date the charges were listed, you can request the charges be removed. In our experience, a lot of people either don’t know this or just don’t bother to do it.

Having your old criminal record removed is slightly different in each state. In WA, for example, you can apply for a “spent conviction” which limits the disclosure of older crimes—although it doesn’t actually remove it from your full criminal record. It would, however, disappear from your National Police Certificate. But even then, it’s not straightforward. (Your most recent conviction must be more than 10 years or have had a fine of less than $500—and that included traffic fines.)

A quick Google search will help you find out how to go about it in your particular state. It’s likely to be on your state’s police, legal aid, or justice department website. And depending on the jurisdiction, there’s also Federal Police.

So, that might help you if your charges are old, but what if they’re not?

What to tell a recruiter about your criminal history

If you have a criminal history, be honest.

“Be up-front and honest and explain the charges and situation to recruiters so they can discuss with the client before progressing the application,” Shane said. “That way they can find out if it would be acceptable or not.”

If you’re looking for a mining job and have skills and experience to contribute to a company, get in touch with MPI.

Make sure to register your details with us to ensure you’re considered for upcoming opportunities that match your skill set.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International