Drillers and Blasters – Surface Mining, Quarrying and Construction (NOC 7372)

Last updated: 2 September 2020

If you are interested in working as a Driller or Blaster in Canada in the surface mining, quarrying or construction industries, you will be pleased to know that the job outlook for your occupation in Canada is extremely positive.

You can use this overview of the Canadian employment prospects in your field to start planning your immigration and settlement in Canada.

Why your employment prospects in Canada are excellent:

  • They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.
  • Petroleum Services Association of Canada projects 9,000 wells will be drilled across the country in 2010, up from 8,450 last year. While BMO Capital Markets analysts are even more optimistic, forecasting 10,675 wells for this year.

Some areas of Canada where your occupation is in demand:

While there is a shortage of Drillers and Blasters across Canada, the following cities and provinces listed below have a particularly high demand for this occupation.

British Columbia:

  • While 20 new jobs are predicted to be created between 2010 and 2015, 70 new jobs due to retirements are projected to be created in that same period.


  • According to ATB Financial senior economist Todd Hirsch, demand for workers in the construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors is on the rise in Alberta.
  • There is currently a shortage of drillers in the Alberta’s Oil and Gas Sector.
  • The president of Nabors Canada (one of the largest drilling companies in Canada) has stated that his company has had to turn projects down because it does not have enough qualified drillers.
  • Numerous oilsands projects that had been delayed during the recession are starting back up in the upcoming months and will need drillers.
  • Activity in the Cardium Formation (large producer of natural gas in west-central Alberta) is increasing, and is a new source of employment for drillers.


  • Prospects for this occupational group are considered good in Manitoba.
  • A large percentage of the employed workforce is located in Northern Manitoba in the mining industry.
  • The price of metals is trending upward and is encouraging investment in the mining industry which should increase demand for drillers.


  • Roughly 50% of all workers in this occupational group were at least 45 years of age in 2006 in the Province. As a result, many will be retiring over the next few years, increasing demand for new workers.



  • Drillers are in demand in Sudbury’s mining sector.
  • The current boom in the mining industry has drilling service companies scrambling to meet demand.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • With growth in mineral exploration throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, there is high demand for drillers.

Duties for Drillers and Blasters

Drillers in this unit group operate mobile drilling machines to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters in this unit group fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures. They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Description of Main Duties:

  • Drive and operate tracked or truck-mounted rotary drilling, air-track or other drilling machines to bore large blast holes to specified depths at staked positions in open-pit mine or quarry
  • Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites
  • Operate tracked or truck-mounted drill equipped with auger or other attachment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings
  • May measure location and stake out pattern of holes to be drilled, load blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock.

Blasters in this unit group perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Read instructions or diagrams, lay out drill pattern and determine depth and diameter of blast holes and conduct field tests to determine type and quantity of explosives required
  • Assemble or direct other workers to assemble primer charges using selected detonators, fuses, detonating cords and other materials
  • Load explosives in blast holes by hand or direct movement of bulk explosives trucks to load holes
  • Connect electrical wires, detonating cords or fuses into series and connect series to blasting machines; press handle or button to detonate charges
  • Handle, store and transport explosives and accessories in accordance with regulations and ensure that safety procedures are observed
  • May operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes or may direct drilling of blast holes.

Example job titles for Drillers and Blasters:

  • air-track drill operator – construction
  • blaster – quarrying
  • blaster – surface mining
  • blaster (except underground mining)
  • blaster, construction
  • construction blaster
  • construction driller
  • core drill operator – construction, surface mining and quarrying
  • diamond drill operator – surface mining and quarrying
  • driller – quarrying
  • driller – surface mining
  • driller, construction
  • driller, quarry
  • driller, seismic prospecting
  • drilling machine operator – construction
  • foundation drill operator
  • foundation drill operator – construction
  • open-pit blaster
  • open-pit driller
  • operator, foundation drill
  • operator, rotary drilling machine
  • quarry driller
  • rotary drilling machine operator
  • rotary drilling machine operator – surface mining and quarrying
  • seismic prospecting driller

Find out about salary ranges for Drillers and Blasters in different Canadian cities with our Canada Salary Calculator.

You can start looking for a job in Canada by using our Canada Job Search Tool.