The world doesn’t run on coffee. It runs on minerals. To get those minerals, a mining engineer is needed. Mineral extraction is a very exacting science and requires that an individual be involved in the practice, theory, technology, and science of extracting minerals from the environment. If the idea of devising efficient systems for doing this sounds appealing to you, you’ll want to know how to get started down this exciting career path.
What Does A Mining Engineer Do?
Mining engineers are involved in a wide range of tasks that focus on the engineering aspects of mining. They can be consultants for large mining operations or they can work out in the field (i.e. a mine). If you’re doing mineral discovery, expect to be out in the field with geologists digging up dirt. Your job will be to take core samples and examine them for proven reserves.
A mineral determination is done once a deposit is located. This usually involves a chemical analysis of the ore to determine its composition. Once that’s been identified, you would then determine the quantity of the ore and its purity. Finally, a feasibility study is done to prove mineral reserves in the ground. In other words, you’re trying to determine whether it would be profitable to dig commercially for the mineral ore.
Of course, if you don’t like field work, you may be able to land yourself a consulting job in a big city. That would preclude traveling to far-away and remote towns for weeks on end. The educational requirements are somewhat intense. You’ll want a bachelor’s at minimum. Some companies will require you to have a master’s. Thankfully, finding colleges for mining engineering isn’t hard.
What’s Life Like?
For the most part, you have to love traveling, unless you get yourself a consulting gig. Even then, you may have to travel now and again. Many engineers work in remote locations, away from other people. Sometimes, they work in locations so remote, the only people there are the geologists and crew for the exploration mission.
You may work a 3-2 schedule – 3 weeks on and 2 weeks of vacation. It’s a hard life because, when you’re working, you don’t get standard breaks or time off.
You may also be required to work on a mine site, which opens you up to all of the health risks of working in or near a mining operation.
Your love of solving problems, and discovering new deposits, will have to overwhelms all of the negative aspects of the job.
Salary and Benefits
Thankfully, you’re compensated well for the work you do. The mean yearly salary for a mining engineer in the U.S. is about $90,000. Some make more, however. It all depends on the company that hires you and what your actual job entails.
Types Of Mining Engineers
The opportunities in the industry are almost endless. You can work in an established mine as an operation’s manager, go out exploring for more mineral deposits, and even do some of the mining yourself.
Thomas Fields is passionate about his engineering career. When not working on projects or being an adjunct professor, he enjoys writing about the career field. The EngineeringDegrees.org team can help you find colleges all over the U.S. They can even get the application process started. About the only thing they can’t do is pay for the schooling.
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