About the CFMEU Mining & Energy Division

The Union was first federally registered in 1915 as the Australasian Coal & Shale Employees Federation (ACSEF). Amalgamations in the 1990s, including with the Federated Mine Mechanics Association (FMMA), expanded industry coverage, creating the United Mineworkers Federation of Australia (UMFA). After a further series of amalgamations with construction and forestry industry unions, we became the Mining & Energy Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

The CFMEU, a trade union registered under federal industrial law with over 120,000 members is one of the largest in Australia. The CFMEU came into existence in 1992 as an amalgamation of the United Mineworkers' Federation of Australia, the Building Workers Industrial Union, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens' Association, the Australian Timber and Allied Industries Union and other smaller unions. The Districts of the Mining & Energy Division also have state registration.

District Offices

The Union has a District Structure which covers most of Australia. Districts directly provide services to members. Read more about Districts and Find Your District.

Industries covered by the Mining and Energy Division

The Division covers several industries - the coal industry, coal ports, the metalliferous mining industry, electric power generation, oil and gas and the small coke industry.

  • The Coal Industry: The coal industry is the vast bulk of the CFMEU's coverage. Of its 22,000 members approximately 19,000 work in the coal industry. In that sense the CFMEU is an indigenous union to the coal mining industry. It represents an overwhelming majority of the workforce.
  • Coal Ports.  The unions represents the majority of people employed (close to 500 in total) at export coal ports located along the east coast of Australia
  • Metalliferous Mining: The CFMEU covers most metalliferous miners in Broken Hill where silver, lead and zinc ores are mined by Pasminco. There are around 400 members at Broken Hill.  Through the amalgamation with the FEDFA, the CFMEU also has around 1,500 members at metalliferous mines in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.
    In 2013 the CFMEU joined forces with the AWU to form an alliance in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Alliance covers some classifications of workers in the Pilbara region. You can find out more from the  Western Mineworkers' Alliance.
  • Oil, gas and electricity: The division has around 1,200 members employed in power stations, oil refineries and other parts of the oil and gas production chain.
  • The Coke Industry: The coke industry as a stand-alone commercial industry is quite small in Australia. Most coke production is tied to iron and steel operations. There are stand-alone coke works on the South Coast of NSW (north of Wollongong) and in Bowen in Northern Queensland. The CFMEU covers the cokeworks on the south coast of NSW and the AWU covers the Bowen coke works.

Union coverage in the Coal Mining Industry

In the coal mining industry the Mining & Energy Division is constitutionally able to cover/represent any worker in that industry. In terms of award coverage (ie via the decisions of the government appointed industrial relations authority, Fair Work Australia) it is able to cover any production or engineering worker.

In practice the division covers a wide range of work in the coal mining industry including production, surface labourers and maintenance/trades employees in underground mines, washery operators, truck drivers, tradespeople and labourers in open cut mines and labourers at coal loaders.

There are however other unions in the coal mining industry who may cover some of this work including, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), and the NSW Colliery Officials Association (Deputies). The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA) is able to represent administrative and professional workers.

Nevertheless the CFMEU is the only union that can cover all employees in the industry and it has been nominated as the "principal union" in the industry by the ACTU. This gives it the sanction of the trade union movement to recruit any employee in the industry.