In Summary - Mining / Geological Engineer
Mining / Geological Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Mining / Geological Engineer
The first stage of the mining engineer's work is to locate the right place to excavate and build the mine. In this, engineers work closely with other specialists, especially geologists, who use their knowledge to find natural deposits. The team may choose the site of a mine by using geological surveys, aerial and satellite photographs, airborne radar and seismic surveys.
Next, the engineer can use modern computer technology to design the mine. For example, they may use computer-aided design systems to make a three-dimensional model of the proposed mine. They plan the mine in great detail, including the size and location of an open pit, or tunnel and shaft systems. Again, engineers work with geologists to find out about important factors, such as rock strength and ventilation, to make sure the extraction process is safe.
Once mining has begun, engineers supervise drilling and blasting. They choose a safe ventilation system for removing hazardous substances such as dust and gases from the working area. Engineers may also work on the mine's transport and communications network. They may design and plan roads, railway links, port facilities and accommodation for mine workers.
Minerals engineers recover valuable minerals and metals from the ores. They research and develop ways to separate the resource from its ore and process it by crushing and milling the ore. They also use chemical and biological processes to separate metals from mineral concentrates.
Minerals/mining engineers may supervise or train teams, including other engineers and mine repair workers.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Select locations and plan underground or surface mining operations, specifying processes, labor usage, and equipment that will result in safe, economical, and environmentally sound extraction of minerals and ores.
- Design, implement, and monitor the development of mines, facilities, systems, or equipment.
- Inspect mining areas for unsafe structures, equipment, and working conditions.
- Examine maps, deposits, drilling locations, or mines to determine the location, size, accessibility, contents, value, and potential profitability of mineral, oil, and gas deposits.
- Select or develop mineral location, extraction, and production methods, based on factors such as safety, cost, and deposit characteristics.
- Prepare technical reports for use by mining, engineering, and management personnel.
- Monitor mine production rates to assess operational effectiveness.
- Prepare schedules, reports, and estimates of the costs involved in developing and operating mines.
- Lay out, direct, and supervise mine construction operations, such as the construction of shafts and tunnels.
- Devise solutions to problems of land reclamation and water and air pollution, such as methods of storing excavated soil and returning exhausted mine sites to natural states.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interests - Mining / Geological Engineer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
To be a minerals/mining engineer, you must have knowledge of geology and geological surveying techniques, as well as excellent engineering skills. You need good teamwork skills to support and work alongside colleagues, for example, geologists or other engineers.
You also need strong computer and technical skills; mining and minerals is a dynamic industry that uses leading edge technology like computer-aided design systems. You should also be willing to learn and develop new knowledge, to keep pace with advances in ideas and technology.
Mining engineers have to be committed to protecting the environment. They need to think about how a proposed mine, including its staff housing, transport and other services, will impact on the local environment.
You may be responsible for planning timetables and budgets, so you need good organisational, written and numerical skills. It is very important that you stay calm and work well under pressure. You may supervise or train mine repair teams, so you must have leadership skills; you must be able to encourage and motivate others.
This can be a physically demanding profession in an environment that can at times be hot, dirty and uncomfortable. There may be a risk of accidents therefore protective clothing and helmets should be worn at all times.
Entry Requirements - Mining / Geological Engineer
Pay & Salary - Mining / Geological Engineer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 35k - 65k
Last Updated: February, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.