Job descriptions and industry overviews

Mining engineer: job description

4 Jul 2023, 14:28

Mining engineers ensure that underground resources such as minerals, metals, oil and gas are extracted safely and efficiently.

mining engineer job description

What does a mining engineer do? Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Mining engineers plan and design mines so that they are safe and commercially viable.

Typical duties include:

  • assessing the commercial potential of new mine sites
  • ascertaining the risks associated with new sites
  • carrying out surveys to establish the locations of deposits
  • producing models or plans for possible mining sites
  • planning mine infrastructure and systems, such as ventilation, using specialist software
  • assessing equipment needs and safety
  • ensuring that operations comply with health and safety requirements
  • managing budgets
  • working with other mine professionals, including geologists and construction staff
  • training and supervising staff
  • liaising with and advising managerial and technical staff
  • monitoring productivity and safety reports
  • collecting and analysing data
  • keeping records
  • working on mine decommissioning projects.

Mining engineering is an international profession, with many jobs based overseas. Locations can be isolated and hours irregular as mines tend to operate continuously, with staff working shifts.

Graduate salaries

Starting salaries for mining engineers in the UK tend to be around £22,000, according to jobs comparison site Glassdoor. Earnings increase with experience, particularly if you achieve chartership.

Remote mining operations may provide on-site accommodation and pay for transport to and from the location between periods of work.

Typical employers of mining engineers

  • Engineering firms
  • Mining companies
  • Quarrying companies
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Specialist mining consultancies
  • Waste management companies.

Jobs tend to be advertised by university departments, specialist recruitment agencies and on sector-specific jobs boards. You could also consider making speculative applications during the first term of your final year: look in the Directory of Mines and Quarries for contact information.

Qualifications and training required

To become a mining engineer, you will need a degree in a relevant subject such as mining engineering or geology. There are a small number of postgraduate mining engineering courses available in the UK if your first degree isn’t in mining engineering.

Work experience will boost your job applications and give you insights into the work involved in this career. Directly relevant experience can be difficult to organise for safety reasons, but related placements, internships and periods of voluntary work will offer the same benefits. Look for opportunities with engineering and environmental consulting firms, or voluntary work involving environmental or safety-related skills.

Most mining engineering degree courses offer periods of practical mining experience – these can provide a useful source of contacts for work experience and employment. You could also consider joining the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining as a student member to access training and networking opportunities.

Different countries have varying requirements for entry into the profession in terms of experience and academic qualifications, so it’s important to research the requirements and gain a qualification that will be accepted.

Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree with honours in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc.

Key skills for mining engineers

Employers of mining engineers will be looking for:

  • problem-solving and analytical skills
  • strong technical skills, including the ability to use specialist mine planning software
  • teamworking skills
  • leadership skills
  • commercial awareness
  • a commitment to safety and willingness to keep up to date with legislation.

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