Careers in Mining and Minerals Engineering and The Global Opportunity

From materials required to construct roads to the natural resources that are part of our day-to-day life, mining and minerals engineering play a critical role in our lives. If a career in this field interests you, then this will be a great resource for you.

Here's what we will look at today

  • The basics
  • What does a degree in mining and minerals engineeringoffer?
  • Top ten universities to study mining and minerals engineering
  • Career roles and the future
  • Salary &Pay-Scale

What is mining and minerals engineering?

What is mining and minerals engineering? Simply put – it is a discipline of engineering that deals with the science and technology of extracting and processing different kinds of minerals from the earth. It is the job of a mining engineer to discover all types of valuable natural resources and carefully extract these resources from the planet. Mining engineers are involved in the broadest range of specialities and processes compared to every other engineering discipline. Converting mineral resources into usable products for everyday life in a sustainable and responsible manner is the essential work of mining and mineral engineers.

What does a degree in mining and mineral engineering offer?

An undergraduate course in mining and minerals engineering is for a duration of four years with eight semesters, and studying this course will provide extensive knowledge in many other disciplines. These are:

  • Civil and mechanical engineering
  • Geology
  • metallurgy
  • Management
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Information technology

Mining and mineral engineering is a purely industry-oriented course that requires industrial applications. This course equips the learner with extensive knowledge on minerals and mineral finding along with the knowledge in an organized way of mining those minerals and resources.

Few essential areas covered as a mining and a mineral engineer are:

  • Geochemistry
  • Mass Transfer
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Rock mechanics
  • Fracture Mechanics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Hydrogeology
  • Geomatics
  • Golden Software (Surfer)
  • Geophysics
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Drilling and blasting
  • Algebra
  • Control Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Differential Equations
  • Mineralogy
  • Surface Mining
  • Underground mining (soft rock)
  • Underground mining (hard rock)
  • Geomechanics
  • MicroStation
  • Carlson

Skills required

  • Teamwork
  • Specialist skills in mining engineering practices
  • Numerical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Project management
  • Strong technical skills
  • Communication
  • Logical thinking and decision-making
  • Time management
  • Knowledge of health and safety issues related to mining
  • Organization skills
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing work
  • Analytical skills
  • I.T. and specialist software.
  • Research skills

Top universities to study mining and mineral engineering

Let us now look at the top 10 universities globally to study mining and mineral engineering

listed in the Q.S. World Ranking.

Serial No. University Country
1 Colorado School of Mines Golden Campus, Golden
United States
2 Curtin University Curtin Perth, Perth
3 The University of Western Australia Perth, Perth
4 The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) Main Campus (Kensington), Sydney Australia
5 The University of Queensland St Lucia Campus, Brisbane City Australia
6 McGill University The main campus, Montreal
7 Monash University Clayton, Melbourne
8 Queen’s University at Kingston Main Campus, Kingston
9 Universidad de Chile Casa Central, Santiago
9 University of British Columbia UBC Vancouver Campus, Vancouver Canada

Further Study

After pursuing an undergraduate course in mining and mineral engineering, students also prefer to look for master programs as it provides a detailed understanding of different types of extraction methods and simplifies the complexities of the mining process. This will also have the element of practical assignments and field trips for the betterment of knowledge and hands-on experience.

Few areas of specialization under mining and mineral engineering are:

  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Mineral economics
  • Mining geomechanics

Mining and mineral engineering jobs and career

Mining and mineral engineering is a sector in which there are boundless job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in the U.S., Mining, and Geological Engineering jobs are expected to have a growth of 4%from the year 2020- 2030, and this will create 400 job opportunities in multiple fields each year. Growth in the field of mining and mineral engineering depends on the amount of coal, metal, and other minerals used by each country. At present many of the products that we use in our day-to-day life are made out of these materials, from construction to computers.

Mining and Geological Engineers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

mining and mineral engineering degree

Note: These include all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program


The median annual pay for Mining and Geological Engineers was $93,800 in May 2020.

In this field, the lowest 10 per cent earned less than $57,040, and the highest 10 per cent earned around  $156,270.In May 2020, the median annual wages for mining and geological engineers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Oil and gas extraction $138,380
Government 120,100
Coal mining 91,320
Metal ore mining 88,950
Engineering services 88,420

Mining and Geological Engineers

Median annual wages, May 2020

mining and mineral engineering career

Note: These include all occupations in the U.S. Economy.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

In the U.K., the starting pay varies between £21,000 and £27,000, and with five years’ experience, the employee can earn up to £45,000. After ten years of experience, a senior employee can earn between £50,000 and £75,000.

Here’s a closer look at the career options available after graduating in mining and mineral engineering

  • Mining engineer
  • Mineral processing engineer
  • Engineering geologist
  • Petroleum engineer
  • Lead engineer
  • Mineral explorer
  • Research engineer
  • Site manager
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Deputy manager
  • Mine planner
  • Mining engineering technician
  • General manager  mines
  • Drilling engineer
  • Technical consultant
  • Lecturer

Now let’s take a look at a few job opportunities that are similar to those of mining and geological engineers and median annual pay in the U.S.:

  • Architectural and Engineering Managers – $149,530
  • Civil Engineers- $88,570
  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists- $73,230
  • Geological and Hydrologic Technicians- $50,630
  • Geoscientists- $93,580
  • Health and Safety Engineers- $94,240
  • Hydrologists-$84040
  • Petroleum Engineers- $137,330

The future

The future of mining and mineral engineering career looks bright with technological advancements from artificial intelligence (A.I.) to data analytics.  These advancements have helped to transform this industry like never before. It has particularly helped in improving efficiency, improving the safety of the employees and enhancing productivity.

These technological advancements will help in removing people from the brute force aspect of the business and will result in a cheaper and more efficient way of working. With the high increase of demand for electric cars and lithium-ion batteries, we are currently witnessing a new era in which lithium and cobalt production and the demand for these materials are also increasing. So if you are someone who is excited to be part of the oldest industry and see your future in it, mineral and mining engineering can be the right choice for you.

Also find out more about career in Computer Science.

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