The specific job functions of copper miners can vary, but in general, these workers are responsible for the extraction of copper from open or closed mines. Each miner will work in a specific capacity: one miner may be an explosives expert, while another may be a heavy machinery operator, and still another may be a driver of large transport trucks. Copper miners work in a number of different capacities in various mining settings, but prime among all job responsibilities is the adherence to safety regulations that keep the miners and the surrounding area safe at all times.
Hundreds of specific jobs exist for copper miners, and each miner will be trained for one or more job functions. An extraction miner may work with hand tools or power tools to chip away rocks until copper is exposed. Others may work with computerized machinery that will do much of the hard labor in place of human workers. Some copper miners are responsible exclusively for the maintenance and repair of heavy machinery used in the mining operation. These mechanics, sometimes known as machinists, may have to fashion new parts, install them, and run diagnostics on machines to determine what is causing a particular problem.
Mine cutting and channeling operators use machines that cut into rock or soil to create mine shafts or other openings used either for blasting or installing machinery that will be used in the extraction process. These workers do not require any specific level of education, though the copper miners will undergo job training so they can learn how to operate all relevant machinery safely and effectively. These workers are likely to work in confined spaces, which means they may have to obtain confined space certification or undergo training for this setting. They will need to learn how to operate ventilation systems as well; such systems are installed to ensure the presence of oxygen within the mines.
Explosives experts work with various types of explosives to blast away materials within a mine. Blasting must be done strategically and carefully so copper miners can safely extract the copper once blasting is complete. These experts undergo extensive training to learn how to place explosives properly, so the demolition can be done in a controlled manner. A belt operator may be in charge of transporting and sorting raw materials to find copper and transport it to a sorting area.