Are you good at math and interested in metals, minerals, and their extraction? If yes, a career as a Mining Engineer could be ideal for you.
Mining engineers plan and direct the engineering aspects of identifying and extracting petroleum, minerals, and natural gas from the earth.
To become a mining engineer in Australia, you need a Bachelor of Engineering degree (focussing on mining or geotechnical engineering) and two to three years of experience. Some states/territories may also require licensing via a regulatory authority or registration with a professional body.
In this blog, you will explore the Mining Engineer profession and learn the basic steps to becoming one in Australia, including degree requirements, salary, what they do, career paths, job opportunities, and more.
1. What Is Mining Engineering?
Mining Engineering is about extracting natural minerals from the earth's crust and processing them into user-friendly forms with minimal ecological impact.
It involves studying mineral resources' safe, ethical, and environmentally responsible recovery, processing, and marketing.
2. What Are Mining Engineers?
Mining Engineers design mines and build new technology and equipment to ensure the safe and efficient extraction of metals, minerals, petroleum, natural gas, or ores from the earth.
They work with a team of other engineers and scientists to research new processes and techniques to improve the efficacy and safety of mines.
3. What Does A Mining Engineer Do?
The most common tasks and duties of a Mining Engineer are as follows:
Design the layout of a mine
Determine the exact location for drilling
Plan and develop methods to regulate the flow of gas and oil from wells
Develop mining equipment, mineral treatment equipment, and machinery, and enhance existing apparatus
Perform preliminary sub-surface surveys of petroleum, mineral, and natural gas deposits with Geologists, mineral scientists, Geophysicists, and other engineers. They do this to determine the characteristics of mining development sites, the presence of resources, and the development of the extraction process.
Estimate project cost estimates and production schedules,
Prepare a report about the progress, production, and project costs.
Consider factors such as depth of overburden, physical attributes and altitude of deposits, and surrounding strata to determine the suitable ore extraction methods.
Plan and coordinate the employment of mining staff and mine safety programs.
Return mine locations to their natural states after concluding mining operations
Set up emergency services and first aid facilities at the mines
4. Mining Engineer Skills
You need a combination of technical and soft skills to perform the job responsibilities effectively:
Familiarity with a range of specialised mining equipment and tools
Knowledge of mathematics, such as trigonometry, principles of calculus, and other advanced topics
Good writing skills to prepare clear and concise reports and instructions to convey their plans to their team
Computer skills to use various software and programs
Enjoy doing hands-on and technical work
Comfortable working underground and staying away from families for prolonged durations
Aptitude for design and computing
Good problem-solving skills
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Able to work independently with minimum or no supervision or in a team environment
Willingness to conform to safety requirements
Like staying up-to-date by attending relevant classes, conferences, and workshops
Good decision-making skills as their decisions impact miners' lives, the organisation, and the environment
Analytical and logical-thinking skills to put their work plans into a lucid, logical sequence
Supervision skills to supervise other engineers, geologists, scientists, surveyors, and technicians on a mine site
Able to work collaboratively in a changing environment
5. Mining Engineer Qualifications In Australia
The education, training, and licensing requirements vary for mining engineers based on their work location and position. However, they follow similar common steps to qualify for the role:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with one or more prerequisite subjects such as English, chemistry, mathematics, and physics
Undertake a Bachelor Of Mining Engineering or a Bachelor of Engineering degree focusing on mining or geotechnical engineering.
Study for a postgraduate degree to specialise in mining engineering and attain management-level roles
Apply for an entry-level role and work for 2-3 years to gain professional experience
Depending on the state/territory you wish to work in, you may need to apply for Industry licensing and registration.
6. Steps To Become A Mining Engineer In Australia
To work as a mining engineer in Australia, you need formal education and on-the-job experience. The following are the steps to kickstart your career in this profession:
Step 1: Enrol In An Engineering Program
A mining engineer degree suffices for entry-level positions in mining engineering. So, start by completing a bachelor's degree in mining or geotechnical engineering.
It is a four years full-time program where you learn about the following: mining science and technology, mining operation, geology, metallurgy, environmental reclamation, and structural design of mines.
The qualification gives you a solid foundation in engineering principles and elements of mining, such as ventilation, mine planning, geomechanics, and mineral processing.
You gain a comprehensive understanding of how complex mining systems function to serve the universal requirements for minerals.
Mining Engineering – The University of Western Australia
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Mining) – The University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mining) - UNSW Sydney
Step 2: Take Mining Engineer Courses
After graduation, consider taking speciality mining engineering courses focusing on geology, mining, and geological development.
They help you understand the physical attributes of different minerals, the mining procedure, and ways to apply engineering concepts in the mining industry.
Step 3: Gain Onsite Experience
While studying, seek opportunities to get involved in fieldwork for mining operations. One of the ways is to work as an intern at an engineering company or a mining site.
Alternatively, sign up for a class where you conduct research under the guidance of a professor or undertake projects in the field. Observing mining operations can help apply education to a workplace environment.
Step 4: Learn Local Regulations
Understanding the laws and limitations prescribed for your field before entering the job will showcase your industry knowledge to prospective employers.
Therefore, learning the local rules and regulations and the necessary licenses for varying mining and extraction ensures safe and eco-friendly mining operations.
Step 5: Obtain Professional Membership
After graduation, you can apply to become a member of industry bodies such as the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Engineers Australia.
It is an opportunity to access professional development courses and exclusive job opportunities, including expanding your professional contacts and career prospects in the mining industry.
Step 6: Apply For Jobs
After earning your degree and license, you can start applying for jobs. Newly hired mining engineers will usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers and gain valuable industry exposure.
Depending on the state where you wish to work, you may need to participate in professional development activities to maintain licensure.
Step 7: Become a Registered Professional Engineer
After completing an accredited Bachelor of Engineering degree and gaining several years of relevant experience, you can apply for Registered Professional Engineer certification at the Association of Professional Engineers Australia.
Earning a "Certified" credential is helpful for professionally qualified mining engineers. It shows employers that you are competent to work in your engineering speciality and fulfil industry standards of excellence.
7. Mining Engineer Work Conditions
The job of a Mining Engineer is hands-on and involves spending extensive time on-site, mostly in remote locations. Some professionals also work in offices and laboratories. When working in this role, you may require to travel or work for international companies.
On-site mining engineers work for some period and then return home for a break. While working, they live underground in confined spaces and under extreme weather conditions for months.
The mining engineers work in different mines, such as mineral sand, coal, and iron ore mines.
They use the specialised mining equipment, including computers, two-way radios, and surveying equipment. They also mandatorily wear safety equipment such as protective eyewear, gloves, hearing protection, and hard hats.
8. How Much Time Does It Take To Become A Mining Engineer?
You need to meet several requirements before embarking on this career. It typically takes 4-6 years of formal education and training to start as a mining engineer.
The professional journey is long, 6-7 years. Still, you can surely make it happen with proper education and passion for learning to mine and using it to enhance people's lives.
9. Employment Opportunities For A Mining Engineer
As Mining engineers study a variety of disciplines, such as commerce, geology, metallurgy, management, and economics, they can advance quickly within minerals and other industries.
Key Employers For Mining Engineers Include:
Large-scale manufacturing and construction companies
Companies that make and supply explosives or mining machinery to the mining industry
The Most Common Jobs That Involve Mining Engineers:
Mine Ventilation Officer
Mine Safety Engineer
Open Pit Mining Engineer
Mining Project Engineer
Underground Mining Engineer
Mining Engineers work with mining operations managers and equipment vendors. They help to give clarity on requirements in non-technical terms.
Since they possess transferable skills, they can even find work opportunities interstate.
10. Areas Of Specialisation
When having gained extensive experience as a Mining engineer, there are opportunities to advance your career in the following areas:
Developing equipment and systems to remove mineral deposits
In a specific type of mining process, like a geological assessment
In a metal or mineral such as diamonds or copper
Safety design in mines
11. How Much Does A Mining Engineer Earn In Australia?
A Mining engineer's salary differs based on their qualifications, position, work region, and years of experience.
By working in mining operations and showing your capabilities, you may charge a higher price per project and get a higher salary.
According to Pay Scale, the average mining engineer's salary in Australia is AU$120,587 per year or equivalent to AU$43.75 per hour.
Annual Average Salary Based on Experience
Entry-level Mining Engineers (<1-year experience): AU$91,139
Early career Mining Engineers (1-4 years of experience): AU$110,886
Mid-career Mining Engineers (5-9 years of experience): AU$126,051
Experienced Mining Engineers (10-19 years of experience): AU$142,939
Top Paying Cities For Mining Engineers
Brisbane: $175,165 per year
Newcastle: $166,589 per year
Melbourne: $159,235 per year
Perth: $156,098 per year
Mackay: $148,518 per year
Sydney: $145,788 per year
Adelaide: $143,395 per year
12. Job Prospects Of Mining Engineers In Australia
Mining plays a crucial role in our modern society. It can significantly improve people's living standards safely, ethically, and ecologically.
Australia's mining businesses are thriving as the country is a worldwide exporter of coal, rutile, lead, zinc, aluminium, uranium, and gold. There is also a skill shortage among young people in this sector. This shortage has resulted in a higher demand for skilled Mining Engineers.
Furthermore, the role presents a lucrative career opportunity for job seekers who seek a challenging engineering role.
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 2336 Mining Engineers
Employment Outlook: The NSC employment projections show from November 2021 to November 2026, the number of workers reached 18,800.
Around 91% of Mining engineers in Australia work full-time hours for an average of 50 hours per week. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 17.1%
Electricity, Gas, Water, And Waste Services: 4.3%
Other Industries: 4.3%
Percentage Of Employment Throughout Australia
Worker Age And Gender Profile
Age In Years: 36 years, with most of them between 25 and 34 years (All Jobs Average: 40 years)
Female Share: 13% of the workforce (All Jobs Average Is 48%)
Mining engineers plan the safest and most affordable way to remove minerals and protect people and the environment.
If you are comfortable working long hours in adverse environments and away from home, this fascinating career presents rewarding outcomes and numerous work opportunities with companies across the country.
Follow these steps to fast-track an exciting and fulfilling career as a Mining Engineer in Australia.
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