What does a mining engineer do?
As a mining engineer, you will apply all the best parts of engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil) to extract minerals from the earth to create objects we use daily. You will assess the geological and geotechnical characteristics to design both open pit and underground operations in order to efficiently, safely, and economically extract resources. Due to the project nature of operations, mining engineers need technical knowledge, budget and risk management, and an ability to manage people.
The resources industry is currently undergoing industrial revolution 4.0: the future of mining operations includes safe extraction using remote machinery, building strong links with the local community. and analysing live data to increase the efficiencies of production.
Mines can be underground or opencast (on the surface). The industry provides a range of options from office-based to working on site and you can expect a blend of both in shift patterns. Many jobs are overseas and can be based in mine camps or remote areas with a ‘fly in fly out’ lifestyle (in which you could work six months of the year). You can also find work across UK extractive industries, underground construction, and infrastructure projects. As you increase your experience you can expect to gain chartership status and become a mine manager, a consultant, or an analyst.
Mining engineers have one of the highest average starting salaries of all graduates from universities in the UK.
What do I need to do to become a mining engineer?
As well as excellent maths skills and the ability to analyse problems, good management skills will help you to successfully manage projects, budgets, and people.
- Five GCSEs (grades A-C)
- Three A levels, including grade B in two science subjects including either physics, chemistry, or maths.
- Access course, International Baccalaureate, or BTEC Extended Diploma
- International Foundation Programme in Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Physical Sciences
- Degree apprenticeship
- An accredited BEng degree in mining engineering
- A postgraduate qualification can be beneficial and may be necessary for some posts.
- Achieving Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng) status can help to demonstrate your professionalism and enable you to sign off documents.
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
Mining engineering is an international career and the majority of opportunities are overseas. There are several industries you could work in across the resource sector including mineral extraction, underground construction, quarrying, civils, mineral processing, tunnelling, finance, analyst to mine design.
As the demand for minerals continues to increase, the importance of a continued undergraduate supply is crucial to industry and UK supply of critical raw materials. This means that there are excellent job prospects for mining engineers.
Energy engineers help research, design and construct renewable-power generation plants.
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