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’s one of those things that throws up barriers to stop you 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 of Workforce Operations, 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 on site to give sign-off,” he said. “If any offences have taken place over the last 10 years they will all be scrutinized.”

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, says MPI’s Senior Consultant for Workforce and Labour Hire, Jasmine Cole.

“If it has been more than 10 years from the date the charges were listed, you can request for the charges to be removed,” Cole said. “A lot of the time people don’t know this or 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:

So it can be tricky, but 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 if your charges are old, but what if they’re not?

What to tell a recruiter about your criminal history

Well, be honest. That’s the message from MPI’s Consultant for Workforce and Labour Hire, Chloe Shaw.

“Be up-front and honest and explain the charges and situation to recruiters so they can discuss with the client before progressing the application,” she 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.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International