Mining Engineer

Mining engineers are responsible for the effective, safe and profitable operation of mining undertakings. They are mining experts and engineers and have a background in geology as well as civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.


Mining engineers assess the feasibility, safety and productivity of potential mine locations and plan, manage and optimise the extraction of surface and underground deposits.  They must be prepared to supervise any phase of mining and are responsible for the effective managing of the mine. They plan, design, construct and operate the facilities that are used to get solid materials out of the earth. They are responsible for the economical and efficient operation of mines. They have to take mining safety and the safety of the workers seriously.

Mining engineers work with geological and metallurgical engineers to locate and appraise new ore deposits. They may develop new equipment or processes for mining and try to improve working conditions. Some conduct research on mining issues or work on problems related to the protection of the environment. It is important to note that, although most of the mining engineers’ time is spent in the office, they also work on site to check that instructions are being followed as planned.

Engineering graduates usually begin work under the supervision of experienced mining engineers and are gradually given more responsibilities as they gain experience. Some engineers with experience and additional education move into administration or management. Many high-level executives in industry began their careers in engineering.  

Key skills for mining engineers are confidence, problem-solving and analytical skills, independence, strong technical skills, teamworking skills, managerial skills and IT skills.

Personal Requirements

  • able to visualise objects three-dimensionally
  • good health and stamina
  • have good mathematical and scientific ability
  • curious
  • be creativity and have initiative
  • responsible and self-confident
  • organisational skills
  • able to command respect
  • maintain a cool head and take charge of a situation
  • speech and writing skills

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Science 
Recommended subjects: Engineering and Graphic Design 

What to Study

Degree: A Bdegree in Mining Engineering takes 4 years to complete and is presented by UJ, UP, UNISA and Wits. This degree is acknowledged throughout the world. After successful completion of the degree, candidates must register as engineers-in-training and do a course in Practical Industrial Training. The training program (which lasts 3 years) is approved by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). After completion of this course graduates can register as professional engineers.

Diploma: A N.Dip. in Mining Engineering is offered at UNISA.

To hold management posts in mines, mining engineers must obtain a Certificate of Competence. After an examination the Mining Engineer presents a Certificate of Competence to the successful candidates. The mining engineering degree gives the candidates exemption from most of the subjects needed to obtain a Certificate of Competency as a Mine Manager. Mining engineers must have a certain amount of practical experience before they can write the examination.


  • mining companies
  • mining equipment manufacturers and suppliers
  • universities of technology and universities
  • private consultants
  • government mining departments as inspectors
  • self-employment, can work as an independent consultant for mines

Further Information

The Head - Training
JCI Group Training Centre
P O Box 976
Randfontein, 1760
Tel: (011) 411-2345

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) 
1st Floor, Waterview Corner Building
2 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue
Bruma Lake Office Park, Bruma
Johannesburg, 2198 
Tel: (011) 607-9500

The Recruitment Officer
Recruitment Office
Anglo American Corporation of South Africa
P O Box 61587
Marshalltown, 2107
Tel: (011) 638-9111

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work with a mining company
  • arrange to speak to mining engineers and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions


Related Occupations

Study Mining Engineering at Wits

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