What are the Travel Options in Mining? The Basics Explained.

April 11, 2011Posted by carolyn

Terms like FIFO, Residential, Project or Campaign Travel are used within the mining industry to describe different options for getting to and from the job. Here’s a quick overview of the options…


What is FIFO?

FIFO is a common industry acronym for Fly In Fly Out. This term describes workers who fly from their home town (normally a capital city or regional centre) to a mine site.

FIFO is often followed by a number combination, e.g. FIFO 8/6. This is used to describe the number of days or weeks on site followed by the time employees then have on break. In this case, 8/6 denotes 8 days on site followed by 6 days off.

Common rosters for mining professionals in Australia are 8/6, 9/5, 2/1 (weeks) and 19/9 (days).

What is Residential?

Residential roles involve an employee residing close to their place of work, normally within an hour’s drive. Typically, a residential role for mining professionals has them working Monday to Friday with occasional weekends ‘on call’ if required. Residential roles are normally located near townships or regional centres where there are appropriate amenities for families to reside, including supermarkets, schools, medical facilities, sporting amenities and more. Obviously the quality of these facilities can vary greatly depending on the township and their population.

Project or Campaign Travel

Some roles in head office, exploration or projects require employees to travel on a ‘project’ or ‘campaign basis’. This is where they normally work in an office (usually in a capital city or regional centre) from Monday to Friday, but occasionally they have to travel to site on an ad hoc basis in order to complete their job. For example, an Exploration Manager may have to fly from Brisbane to WA in order to undertake project evaluation on potential acquisitions or a Manager of Projects may have to fly to site to ensure a construction project is on schedule.

Which travel scenario is right for me?

Depending on your role, you may only have one option to choose from, but most operations roles have a choice of choosing sites that are FIFO or residential. Either choice has significant ramifications on families as they will be without their spouse or parent for a period of time whilst they’re away on FIFO or the family may have to relocate if you are considering a residential role.

Regardless of your choice, if you’re considering switching jobs it’s always best to discuss any changes to travel or location with your family first.