Mining environmental professionals assess and manage the impact of mining operations on the natural environment and surrounding communities. They are responsible for environmental impact assessments, environmental management, stakeholder engagement, compliance and regulatory obligations.
- Develop and monitor ways of minimising the impact of mining on the environment and surrounding communities
- Develop and implement site management plans and company environmental performance standards
- Collect samples, undertake laboratory work, analyse pollutants, identify their sources and assess their effects
- Design and operate processes to treat mine wastes for discharge and/or recycling
- Rehabilitate land, water and air affected by mining
- Research and develop new technologies to improve the environmental impact of mining projects
- Work on mine closure planning and implementation
Skills and attributes
- Project planning and management
- Working as part of a multidisciplinary team
- Collecting and organising information
- Report writing
- Sampling techniques
A typical day
- Site meetings, working outside undertaking inspections and monitoring equipment, managing contractors, interacting with regulators and report writing.
- Environmental Engineer/Scientist: Assess, manage and measure mining activities on the environment and the community.
- Sustainability Specialist: Develop proactive approaches to supporting the environment and society through sustainable practices and initiatives.
- Environmental Consultant: Specialise in an environmental aspect (eg mine rehabilitation) as part of a large multidisciplinary team.
- Environmental Researcher: Work from tertiary institutions like universities and be involved in academic research and teaching students.
- Environmental Chemist: Monitor pollutants, their products and natural chemicals, and determine ways to reduce the detrimental effects of chemicals on the environment.
- Environmental Economist: Study the environmental impacts, benefits, values and costs of projects and subsequently advise industry, communities and government on mining projects.
Nature of work
- The hours will vary depending on where the mine is located
- Fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) work may be required
- Travel may be required to visit regional or international mine sites, possibly in remote areas
As an mining environment professional, I have been exposed to many varied experiences such as working with researchers to monitor koalas, auditing mines in the USA, working with industry to develop new guidelines, speaking at a conference and taking water samples of a river during a flood event. I work with teams of passionate people to achieve critical outcomes.
Karin Fogarty MAusIMM
PhD candidate, University of Western Australia