A mining engineer ensures the safe and economically sound development of mines and other surface and underground operations. The role combines an understanding of the effects of these structures on their surrounding environment, technical knowledge and management skills.
Mining engineers are involved at all stages of a project. Before a new site is developed, they assess its viability and assist with planning the mine’s structure. They also manage and oversee mining production processes and are involved in the final closure and rehabilitation process.
There are opportunities in the UK in mining consultancy, minerals, tunnelling and quarrying but, due to the nature of the industry, mining engineering is an international career and the majority of opportunities are overseas.
Typical work activities
Work activities vary according to the nature of the mine or site, but tasks typically involve:
assessing the commercial viability of new mining ventures;
undertaking feasibility studies;
modelling/designing potential mine sites;
preparing plans for mines, for example tunnels and shafts for underground mines;
working with specialist PC software to support planning programmes;
overseeing major construction projects and ensuring that operations are functioning smoothly;
monitoring activities underground;
overseeing staff activities, either in one site section or throughout an entire mine;
ensuring the safety of mining equipment and assessing mine equipment supplies;
costing and scheduling supplies;
establishing extraction systems;
overseeing the health and safety of the site, particularly in relation to issues such as ventilation;
planning for transition from surface to underground mining operations;
learning new skills as required, such as drilling and blasting;
providing consultancy and advice on mining and mineral extraction projects;
filling in disused mine shafts;
reclaiming mine sites;
managing monthly budgets and keeping detailed records.
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