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.