Gaining RICS chartered membership as a minerals surveyor can be highly beneficial for career progression and salary prospects

As a minerals surveyor you'll play an integral part in the process of mineral extraction. This begins with identifying and preparing potential mineral sites. You'll need to complete surveys to evaluate the commercial viability of mining or quarrying and map mineral deposits, as well as consider risk and environmental impacts.

You'll also support planning applications and help to negotiate legal contracts and establish rights to work a mine.

Once work begins on the site you'll be involved in it's management and development and will need to record the extent of mineral extraction.

When a site has been exhausted, you'll work with other professionals, including mining engineers and planning and development surveyors, to restore the land and plan the disposal of related waste.

Type of mineral surveying work

Minerals surveyors are involved with a huge variety of operations, including:

  • brickworks
  • concrete and cement works
  • landfill and waste management sites
  • methane extraction sites
  • mine water treatment plants
  • mineral processing plants
  • onshore oil and gas installations
  • peat workings
  • recycling centres
  • waste incinerators
  • waste transfer stations. 


As a mineral surveyor, you'll need to:

  • carry out initial surveys, risk assessments and environmental impact assessments on potential sites to assess whether plans are workable
  • provide advice on developing and managing mineral sites safely and within regulations
  • explore, map and develop sites for mineral extraction
  • chart surface areas using global positioning systems (GPS), and build accurate 3D models using digital imaging and specialist CAD (computer-aided design) software to map the structure of a site
  • research land and tax records to establish site ownership
  • deal with ownership rights, negotiating purchase and lease contracts and arranging access onto sites
  • liaise with local authorities and prepare planning applications for clients
  • predict the environmental effects and impacts of mining, including air pollution and destruction of the landscape
  • develop pollution licences
  • undertake exploration work, such as taking samples and recording results
  • provide valuations of mineral deposits and keep records of the amount of mineral extraction
  • meet with members of the public and provide information and advice to them as required
  • give advice on how best to restore the landscape after extraction is complete
  • provide waste disposal advice.


  • Starting salaries for minerals surveyors are in the region of £20,000 to £27,000.
  • With experience, you can expect to earn between £25,000 and £45,000.
  • In a senior surveyor role, you could earn in the region of £50,000 to £70,000.
  • Becoming chartered helps increase your earning potential. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) most recent survey states that RICS members with chartership earn a base salary that is 38% higher than non-chartered professionals.

Although it's not usual to be allocated a company car, it is common to have your mileage paid for site visits.

Salaries vary considerably according to your experience, the location, sector and size of the employing organisation, with salaries normally higher in London and overseas.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

A typical working week is 35 to 40 hours, and this may include early starts or late finishes. Longer hours or weekend work may be necessary to meet deadlines.

What to expect

  • The work is both office and site based and there are opportunities across the UK and abroad. Site visits and inspections are conducted outside in all weathers.
  • Underground mine workings can be dark, damp and cramped at times. Surface workings can be dirty and are exposed to the weather. Mining equipment can also be noisy.
  • Safety regulations in mine workings must be strictly observed so hard hats, protective clothing and equipment must be used when on site.
  • A reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required as the work can be physically demanding. Site inspections may involve climbing down into excavated areas or mine workings.
  • There may be considerable travel within a working day and absence from home overnight may be necessary, depending on the site location.
  • Initiatives are in place to address equality and diversity issues within the surveying profession. This includes advancing racial equity and encouraging women into the role. You can find out more at RICS Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.


Graduates from a range of disciplines can enter minerals surveying, but most employers prefer candidates to have a related degree. Relevant subjects include:

  • civil or mining engineering
  • earth sciences
  • economics
  • environmental science
  • geography
  • geology
  • surveying.

Some degrees are accredited by RICS and these are particularly helpful for achieving the status of chartered surveyor at a later date as it can shorten the length of relevant experience required.

If you don't have an approved first degree, you can complete a RICS accredited postgraduate qualification which also helps with the chartered status route. In some instances, this can be carried out part time or via distance learning while you are working. Details of all accredited qualifications at undergraduate and Masters level are available at RICS Course Finder.

Some dedicated postgraduate courses are available, such as the MSc/PgDip in Surveying and Land/Environmental Management at The University of Exeter - Camborne School of Mines, which equip you with excellent knowledge and skills for a career in this industry.

It is also possible to become a minerals surveyor by completing a degree apprenticeship. This route allows you to begin full-time, paid work in the profession while studying part time at university. Training can take three to six years depending on your experience, qualifications and surveying specialism. Upon completion you'll be awarded with a full degree or Masters. Find out more at RICS Surveying Apprenticeships.

You can enter the industry with an HND or foundation degree but you'll be working at a lower level, such as a surveying technician and will need to complete a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification while working to become a fully qualified minerals surveyor.


You'll need to have:

  • excellent communication skills, written and oral, as the work demands constant contact with people at all levels
  • strong scientific and mathematical ability
  • a methodical approach and good analytical skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • excellent organisational skills
  • the ability to interpret maps, charts and graphical data
  • familiarity with surveying technology and CAD programmes
  • a wide knowledge of mineral estate economics, mineral properties, planning legislation and health and safety issues
  • good IT skills
  • a driving licence - this is usually a requirement due to the number of site visits you'll carry out.

Work experience

Pre-entry experience in a surveying or geological environment is desirable and highly regarded by recruiters. This will be invaluable if your first degree is not directly relevant. The British Geological Survey (BGS) occasionally has opportunities for voluntary work experience, short-term casual vacancies and summer fieldwork.

You could also make speculative applications to local private surveying companies, environmental consultancies or quarrying companies to ask about work experience opportunities.

You should also consider becoming a student member of RICS. This is free and offers various benefits including mentoring schemes, access to professional resources, placements and networking opportunities. It can be a good source of advice and also offers support with your studies. Find out more at RICS Student.


This field of surveying is relatively small in the UK, but there are still a number of employers including:

  • local authorities, which employ minerals surveyors to oversee planning applications, manage sites and provide valuations
  • statutory and government bodies and planning authorities, which require minerals surveyors to manage mineral assets
  • private surveying companies, which specialise in either mineral surveying or general practice and either have a single employed surveyor or a dedicated team of surveyors
  • environmental consultancies, which require specialist services to create strategies for restoring industrial sites for re-use and for landfill management
  • valuation offices, which require surveyors to value and manage the taxation of minerals
  • mineral extraction companies and quarrying companies, which require surveyors to check the levels of mineral deposits on site and to provide valuations
  • coal operators, which require surveyors to undertake site risk assessments
  • specialist consultancy companies, which employ surveyors to provide advice and support and conduct risk assessment of sites.

Work for private consultancies is likely to be project based, providing surveying support for a number of clients at once. Clients can include landowners with mineral assets, government and industry bodies.

Look for job vacancies at:

Networking and building up a good set of contacts is also a useful way to find out about relevant vacancies.

Professional development

As a minerals surveyor you can begin to work towards gaining Chartered Membership (MRICS) with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. This is highly encouraged to help your professional development and to advance your career prospects.

You can enrol at any point but will need to meet certain requirements before applying for your assessment. This includes having specific experience and a relevant qualification. The length of experience needed is shorter if you have a RICS-accredited degree.

The most common way to become chartered is to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This can be completed with or without structured training depending on how many years of experience you have. Completing the APC shows you have met a required level of professionalism and that you have a mix of technical, interpersonal and management skills. Find out more at RICS.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important in mineral surveying to ensure you keep your skills and knowledge up to date. If you're a member of RICS you must undertake a minimum of 20 hours of CPD annually in order to maintain your membership. This can include a mix of taking professional courses, attending conferences, events and workshops or reading academic papers and industry publications. Find out details of relevant courses from RICS Training and Events.

It's also possible for you to work towards qualifications in a related specialist area, such as waste management, with The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) offering various qualifications in this field. Some employers provide sponsorship for this type of further training, particularly if it enhances an employee's expertise within their job.

Career prospects

There are many opportunities for employment overseas, with British qualifications being widely accepted and respected in many countries.

Development in a specific area is possible, such as planning or valuation, but it's advisable to gain wider experience and knowledge to avoid becoming limited to a small section of the profession. Surveying is a diverse profession, so there are opportunities to transfer to other areas of surveying as a career move.

You can also progress to work in academia by becoming a lecturer in a university or you could move into research and development in industry. With significant experience you could set yourself up as a consultant. Other possible career routes include working in a national laboratory or in a museum as a curator.

The environmental sector offers career possibilities for surveying professionals too, in the areas of sensitive development scheme planning, renewable energy, waste management, pollution control, conservation and countryside management.

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