Mining Engineer

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Practical or MechanicalArtistic or CreativeAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Mining engineers plan and supervise the processes involved with extracting minerals from mines. They are often heavily involved in developing new mines, including assessing whether a mineral deposit can be profitably mined, and also research new techniques and processes to improve the efficiency and Future Growth Decline safety of mines.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Giving instructionsA mining engineer needs to:

  • be able to work as part of a team

  • enjoy technical and engineering work

  • be able to identify, analyse and solve problems

  • be able to communicate orally, in writing and using graphs

  • be able to adhere and contribute to strict safety requirements

 

Duties and Tasks

  • conducting 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

  • preparing operation and project cost estimates and production schedules, and reporting progress, production and costs compared to budget

  • determining the most suitable methods of ore extraction taking account of such factors as depth of overburden, and attitude and physical characteristics of 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

  • assessing the natural, technical, financial and safety risks associated with the phases of the project development, construction and operations

  • determining the safety of processes, order of extraction and safety of mine walls, evaluating the risk of slippage and advising on the prevention of slippage and rock falls

  • planning and coordinating the utilisation of labour and equipment consistent with efficiency targets, statutes, safety guidelines and environmental conditions

  • planning and conducting research and providing advice on engineering operations for the exploration, location and extraction of petroleum and natural gas

  • determining location for drilling

  • deciding on types of derrick and equipment including seabed platforms

  • devising methods of controlling the flow of oil and gas from wells

Working conditions

Mining engineers may work in offices, laboratories or on mine sites. Depending on the type of mine, those working on-site may work outside in most weather conditions, or underground in cramped, enclosed spaces.

Mining engineers work in mines all over Australia, from the mineral sands mines in Bunbury and the South West, coal mining in Collie, gold mining in Boddington and the Goldfields, to iron ore mining in the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions. Often they must be prepared to live on site away from home or work on a fly-in, fly-out basis, which involves working on site for a period of time and then returning home for a break. Many mine engineers work for large, global companies and may be required to travel overseas for work.

Tools and technologies

Mining engineers use a variety of tools and equipment, including computers, surveying equipment and two-way radios. Mining engineers who are located on a mine site will also have to wear safety equipment, including protective eye-wear, hard hats, gloves and hearing protection. They will also need to be familiar with the operation of a range of specialised mining equipment.

Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a mining engineer, you usually need to complete a degree in mining engineering at university.

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