What Does a Mining Engineer Do?

Mining engineers use engineering principles, technology, and scientific theory to extract natural resources, according to the Colorado School of Mines. Mining engineers oversee both mining operations and miners and are employed by many mining-related organizations. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Mining engineers plan, design, and operate mining processes, both underground and above ground. Mines provide natural resources that help create everyday necessities including clothing, food, and housing. Mining engineers help extract natural resources like gravel, coal, copper, iron, tungsten, gold, and silver. In addition to overseeing mine operations and supervising mines, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that mining engineers' administrative responsibilities include:

  • Designing underground mines
  • Supervising the construction of mine shafts and tunnels
  • Designing mining equipment
  • Training personnel

Important Facts about this Career

Entry-Level EducationBachelor's degree
LicensingLicense required in every state
Key SkillsAnalysis, decision-making, logical thinking, aptitude for math, problem solving
Similar OccupationsArchitectural and Engineering Managers, Civil Engineers, Geological and Petroleum Technicians, Geoscientists, Natural Sciences Managers

Oversee Mine Operations

Mining engineers strive to extract the most natural resources from the mine for the least amount of money. They also try to limit the amount of water the mine uses and the pollution the mine produces.

Supervise Miners

A bachelor's degree gives mining engineers the skills to supervise and manage various parts of the mine. Mining engineers supervise small groups of employees to creating models of the mine in order to plan processes. These professionals can also oversee a mine's finances, safety, project management, employee relations, and environmental impact.

Work Environments

Although many people think mining engineers only work in mines, they can actually work in many different environments and companies. Mining engineers can work for organizations such as:

  • Mining companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • State or federal agencies
  • Engineering firms

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers, was $90,160 in May 2014. The employment of such engineers is expected to grow by 12% between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS.

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