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What Do Australian Miners And CDO Portfolio Managers Circa 2005 Have In Common?

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A shared love of chihuahuas, yes, though that's not the answer we were looking for.

One of the fastest-growing costs in the global mining industry are workers like James Dinnison: the 25-year-old high-school dropout from Western Australia makes $200,000 a year running drills in underground mines to extract gold and other minerals. The heavily tattooed Mr. Dinnison, who started in the mines seven years ago earning $100,000, owns a sky-blue 2009 Chevy Ute, which cost $55,000 before a $16,000 engine enhancement, and a $44,000 custom motorcycle. The price tag on his chihuahua, Dexter, which yaps at his feet: $1,200. Mr. Dinnison went into mining solely for the pay. While in high school, he said, he broke somebody's skull and teeth "in a bar fight that I deeply regret and have never repeated". He said the judge in his case told him that he could spend a year in prison or pay a $10,000 fine plus $16,000 compensation for the victim. "I needed the money, so I went to the mines," he said...Mr. Dinnison, who has mined copper, tin, nickel and gold, drills holes that are then packed with explosives to extract ore. He wears a $5,000 gold chain crucifix. "I'm not religious, but I am conscious that what I do is serious," he said. "But then you come home and you have all that cash."

The $200,000-a-Year Mine Worker [WSJ]