A Mine Shuttle Car Operator is part of the mine operation career area, generally working in underground mines, but sometimes in open-pit mines as well. There are many different jobs that go on inside a mine and the shuttle car operator is just one of them. Mining has a long history in most parts of the world. The shuttle car operator has been there right from the start. Many mining museums, such as the Atlas Coal Mine Historic site in Drumheller, Canada, allow visitors to get a sense of how shuttle cars were used to travel through the depths of the mine during the early days of the coal mine industry.
Workers in mines face many dangers and the shuttle car operator often must travel to the farthest depths of the mine. Early mine camps were called hell's hole, not only because of the poor camp conditions, but because of the inherent danger involved in going underground. In the early days mining was hard, dirty work. It still is. Mining has always been considered a dangerous profession, and although safety has improved with new technology, mining accidents are always a concern and can happen anywhere. Car operators have been crushed between cars, had rocks or ceilings fall on them, or been electrocuted by faulty or loose cables. In 2010 the Copiapo mine in Chile provided an example of both the extremes of danger and the miracle of survival. That cave-in and subsequent near-impossible rescue of 33 miners after 69 days serves as a testament to the unique and resilient nature of the people who choose to work far below the earth. Modern mining has advanced and changed, but the hardy, brave and durable nature of the people who choose this profession has not.