How to become a Mining Engineer

Mining engineers plan and direct the engineering aspects of extracting mineral resources from the earth.

Personal requirements of a Mining Engineer

  • Enjoy technical work
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Aptitude for computing and design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Able to accept responsibility
  • Able to think and act decisively

Education & Training for a Mining Engineer

To become a mining engineer you usually have to complete an engineering degree at university with a major in mining or geotechnical engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Mining Engineer

Mining engineers may perform the following tasks:

  • conduct investigations of mineral deposits and undertake evaluations in collaboration with geologists, other earth scientists and economists to determine whether the mineral deposits can be mined profitably
  • determine the most suitable method of mining the minerals, taking into account factors such as the depth and characteristics of the deposit and its surroundings
  • prepare the layout of the mine development and the procedure by which the minerals are to be mined
  • prepare plans for mines, including tunnels and shafts for underground operations, and pits and haulage roads for open-cut operations, using computer-aided design (CAD) packages
  • plan and coordinate the employment of mining staff and selection of equipment with regard to efficiency, safety and environmental conditions
  • talk to geologists and other engineers about the design, selection and provision of machines, facilities and systems for mining, as well as infrastructure such as access roads, water and power supplies
  • coordinate with the operations supervisor to ensure proper implementation of plans
  • operate computers to assist with calculations, prepare estimates on the cost of the operation and control expenditure when mines begin production
  • oversee the construction of the mine and the installation of the plant machinery and equipment
  • ensure that mining regulations are observed, including the proper use and care of explosives, and the correct ventilation to allow the removal of dust and gases
  • conduct research aimed at improving efficiency and safety in mines
  • establish first aid and emergency services facilities at the mines.

Working conditions for a Mining Engineer

Mining engineers may work on site in remote areas. They often work for international companies and may travel or work overseas.

Employment Opportunities for a Mining Engineer

Mining engineering degrees include elements from other disciplines such as geology, metallurgy, commerce, economics and management. This means that graduates are versatile and have the potential to advance rapidly within the minerals and associated industries. Most mining engineers are employed by mining companies, mining contractors, consultants and government departments. They may also work for companies that manufacture and supply mining machinery or explosives to the mining industry. Mining engineers with wide experience may set themselves up as consulting engineers. Employment may also be found in mine supervision and management, on site or in head office planning and services. Mining engineers have skills that are readily transferable between employers and may find work interstate.

Additional Information
Graduates may be eligible for membership of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and Engineers Australia. Some courses are also recognised by AusIMM. Visit their websites for more details. Registration or licensing may be required. Contact AusIMM for further information. Graduates are permitted to sit for the Mine Manager’s Certificate and to apply for registration as a Chartered Professional Engineer with Engineers Australia after three years of approved industry experience and with AusIMM after five years.
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