Mining, Geological and Mining Safety Career Overview
Mining and geological engineers are engaged in finding, extracting, and preparing coal, metals, and minerals so that they can be used by the manufacturing and utility industries. They are involved in designing open pits and underground mines, often using computers; supervising the building and construction of mine shafts and tunnels in underground processes; and devising techniques for the transportation of minerals to their processing plant sites. Mining engineers are also responsible for the safe, low cost, and environmentally sound operation of mines. Some mining engineers collaborate with geologists and metallurgical engineers to find, locate, and appraise new ore deposits. Others engineers are involved in developing advanced mining machinery or directing the mineral processing operations to in order to separate minerals from the dirt, rock, and other materials with which they are mixed. These engineers usually specialize in the mining of a particular mineral or metal like coal or gold. Due to the increasing emphasis on protection of the environment, many mining engineers are working to remove obstacles relating to land reclamation along with water and air pollution.
The knowledge of mine designs and practices is used by mining safety engineers to guarantee the safety of mine workers and to be in accord with the State and Federal safety regulations. Inspection of walls and roof surfaces, testing of air samples, and examination of mining equipment are carried out by these engineers so that rules for safety practices and principles are always complied with.
In 2002, mining and geological engineers (including mining safety engineers) were employed in around 5,200 jobs. Four out of ten of the mining engineers were employed in the mining industry; professional, scientific, and technical services firms employed over one-third of these engineers who mainly provided consultation and related services to the mining industry. State or Federal government provided employment for the remaining engineers.
Mining engineers are usually hired near or at the site of natural deposits which may be located near small and rural areas, or sometimes even overseas. The engineers who are involved in R&D activities as well as management, consultation and sales, however, are hired in more developed and metropolitan communities.
Mining and Geological Engineering Job and Employment Opportunities
Even though a decrease in overall employment is predicted, good employment opportunities are expected for mining engineers. During the 2002-2012 period, a large proportion of mining engineers would be retiring, which would create significant demand for these engineers. Also, due to the fact that a small amount of schools have a mining engineering programs and only a small number of mining engineers graduate each year, jobs will be easily available for this profession.
Additional jobs would be created because of the growth of global mining operations which are employing graduates from the US mining engineering colleges. Thus, it is expected that a number of mining engineers would be frequent travelers or even settle out of the country.
The employment of mining and geological engineers (including mining safety engineers) is expected to decrease in the period through 2012. A significant quantity of industries which hire mining engineers on a large scale like the coal, metal, and copper mining industries are predicted to go through declines in employment.
Historical Earnings Information for Mining and Geological Engineers
In 2002, the median salaries received by mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers, were $61,770 annually. The middle 50 percent received salaries which fell between $48,250 and $77,160. The lowest 10 percent received salaries below $36,720 while the highest 10 percent received above $93,660.
In a 2003 salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, mining, mineral and geological engineers with a bachelor’s degree received starting salaries of $44,326 on a average in a year.
Seasoned engineers may earn even more.
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