How to become a Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer

quarry/mining/mineral engineer careers

What does a Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer do?

Mining, minerals and quarry engineers work on the extraction of raw materials such as metals, gypsum, salt, clays, gravel and stone from underground tunnelling systems (mines) and overground, open-cast pits (quarries). A range of methods is employed to extract material, including blasting, drilling and excavation. They also work on mineral processing sites where raw materials are separated out from waste products and refined for industry use, for example, the production of aggregates for road construction.

Before a new mine or quarry is opened, engineers are involved in planning feasibility surveys where they employ ground- surveying techniques to assess suitability and geological make-up of a site. Using drilling rigs, earth and rock samples are taken and removed for testing. The results of initial surveys are then drawn up into reports to help managers decide how the project should proceed.

In the design stage engineers decide on the most efficient way of extracting the material or minerals from the ground, for example, analysing the most appropriate way to separate and process raw materials from the rock. Once under construction, engineers work closely with other professionals such as geologists and civil engineers to ensure that work progresses smoothly and that projected costs and deadlines are achieved.

Engineers involved in the day-to-day running and continual maintenance of an operation have responsibility for managing technical staff, producing regular reports, dealing with equipment supplies, and monitoring health and safety, guarding against eventualities such as collapse or flooding.

An increasingly important aspect to the job is the environmental impact that a working mine has on its surroundings. Similarly, once the economic life of the mine has lapsed, engineers have to ensure that the site can be reclaimed for other uses or that the habitat can be returned as closely as possible to its original state.

Fully qualified professional engineers usually hold incorporated or chartered status.

Chartered engineers are normally involved at a strategic planning level, researching and developing new designs, innovations and more efficient processes. They are often project leaders and are responsible for teams of incorporated engineers and technicians.

Incorporated engineers specialise in managing the day-to-day process of applying current engineering solutions in the most cost-effective manner. They often hold key operational management roles.

What's the working environment like working as a Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer?

Mining, minerals and quarry engineers work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They may work extra hours to meet deadlines.

Depending on their work, they could be based in an office, laboratory or on site. Protective clothing is worn on site.

Travel overseas for long periods may be involved.

What does it take to become a Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer?

To be a mining and minerals engineer, you should:

  • have strong analytical skills and an innovative approach to problem solving
  • have excellent geological knowledge
  • have excellent maths, science and IT skills
  • have a knowledge of computer-aided design packages
  • have strong communication and presentation skills
  • have an excellent technical knowledge
  • be able to prioritise and plan effectively
  • be able to work within budgetary constraints
  • keep up-to-date with new developments
  • be able to work as part of a team and take responsibility for decisions.

Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer Career Opportunities

Mining, minerals and quarry engineers are employed by companies involved in mineral production, equipment supply, research and development, and on a consultancy basis. There are also openings in general management, finance and marketing. Opportunities in the UK tend to centre around quarrying and underground construction projects; specific mining engineering roles are more commonly found overseas.

Mining engineers are also well placed to move into related areas such as civil, construction and environmental engineering.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)
1 Carlton House Terrace
Tel: 020 7451 7300

The Institute of Quarrying
7 Regent Street
Tel: 0115 945 3880

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC)

Courses to help you become a Quarry/Mining/Mineral Engineer