Mining engineers direct the engineering aspects of the mining process and are one of the most specialised types of engineers. They coordinate the extraction of minerals, petroleum and natural gas.
- Constructing tunnels and chambers at mining sites
- Coordinating labour and manpower at mining and drilling sites
- Designing and carrying out surveys to determine the location of minerals, petroleum, and natural gas
- Determining the most appropriate method of extraction
- Developing locations and plans for drilling into the earth
- Ensuring the cost-effectiveness of any given mining project
Skills and attributes
- Critical thinking and logic skills
- High mathematical ability
- Interpersonal skills
- Keen spatial awareness
A typical day
- Mining engineers are often involved in the day-to-day operations on a mine site in remote locations, but more strategic work like planning may take place off-site in larger towns and cities.
- Mining Engineer (Open Pit or Underground): Involved with planning, design scheduling and budgeting, supervision of technical and operating staff, overseeing equipment maintenance and general mine management.
- Mining Engineer (Consultant): Often involved in a wide variety of projects, mining methods and different technical areas. They may use software to model the mining process and can work on both open pit and underground developments.
- Mining Engineer (Academic/Research): Investigate why and how things behave the way they do or are the way they are, rather than looking at the economic issues of how to mine.
Nature of work
- Like many other types of engineers, mining engineers usually begin their projects by drawing up plans and blueprints in office settings. Once the physical labour begins, mining engineers are often directed to work on-site to oversee the various aspects of the project.
- Some travel can be expected depending on the size of the organisation
- Experienced Mining Engineers can find work opportunities overseas.
Leading a multi-disciplinary team gives you an insight into how each area contributes to project value. It is very satisfying to be able to walk in the mine you have designed!
Nathan Kong, MAusIMM
Principal Mining Engineer, Iluka Resources Limited