Mining engineers plan and direct the engineering aspects of locating and extracting minerals, petroleum and natural gas from the earth.
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 mines’ structure. They also manage and oversee mining production processes and are involved in the final closure and rehabilitation process.
- Conduct preliminary surveys of mineral, petroleum and natural gas deposits with prospectors, Geologists, Geophysicists, other mineral scientists and other engineers to determine the resources present, the feasibility of extracting the reserves and the design and development of the extraction process.
- Prepare operation, project cost estimates, production schedules, report progress, production and costs compared to budget.
- Determine the most suitable methods of ore extraction taking account of such factors as depth of overburden, attitude and physical characteristics of the deposits and surrounding strata.
- Preparing plans for tunnels and chambers, location and construction of mine shafts, layout of mine development and the application of appropriate mining techniques, often using computer modelling.
- Assess the natural, technical, financial and safety risks associated with the phases of the project development, construction and operations.
- Determine the safety of processes, order of extraction and safety of mine walls, evaluate the risk of slippage and advise on the prevention of slippage and rock falls.
- Plan and coordinate the usage of labour and equipment, consistent with efficiency targets, statutes, safety guidelines and environmental conditions.
- Plan and conduct research, provide advice on engineering operations for the exploration, location and extraction of petroleum and natural gas.
- Determine the location for drilling.
- Decide on the types of derrick and equipment including seabed platforms.
- Devise methods of controlling the flow of oil and gas from wells.
Educational requirements vary based on a career level, but in general, the completion of a bachelor’s degree in engineering is required. They usually are required to be licensed to work in a given state. Some employers want their mining engineers to have a solid background in related work experience and some require their engineers to have a master’s degree.
The pay scale of a mining engineer ranges from AUD$70,109 – AUD$175,581 and the median being AUD$114,261.