Earthmoving Plant Operator

The mining sector employs over 450 000 South Africans and supports the livelihoods of many more. Improved and safe management of mining operations can significantly reduce the impact on the natural environment- particularly land, water and air quality - as well as those whose livelihoods it supports. Earthmoving entails the moving of large quantities of soil in the early stages of excavation projects and minerals during operations.

Earthmoving plant operators operate heavy machinery to excavate earth, ore and rock in mining operations. They also move and load earth, rock and debris and further level, smooth and compact surfaces before, during and after mining. In addition to mining, they could also be involved in the building of roads, railways, water supply infrastructure, dams, treatment plants and agricultural earthworks.

Earthmoving plant operators can work as part of a larger mining or construction team, often for long hours and in relatively dangerous conditions. Regularity of work and income is highly dependent on weather conditions.


Earthmoving plant operators must have an understanding of large earthmoving machinery, the ability to safely operate these and excellent hand-eye coordination. They will additionally benefit from: 

  • Ability to read and understand blueprints and specifications
  • Understanding of extraction processes and procedures 
  • Endurance to withstand difficult and harsh work conditions
  • Working well as part of an interdependent team


Select, fit and remove attachments from plant machinery

Operate plant machinery to excavate, grade, level, smooth and compact earth or similar materials

Monitor and adjust controls of plant machinery 

Maintain and perform minor adjustments and repairs


Earthmoving plant operators require a valid heavy vehicle driver’s license and can also benefit from a General Education and Training or National Certificate in Construction in Plant Operations at National Qualifications Framework Level 2 and 3, offered at Azandie Consulting, Eastcape Training Centre, License Wise, Proud Afrique and Skills College.


Mining and construction companies.

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