Mining Engineer

    Industry: Engineering

    Summary: Mining engineers, sometimes known as quarry engineers, design, construct and operate mine and quarry workings to extract coal, metals such as copper, iron or zinc and non-metals such as salt, sand, clay or phosphates. Their work may be concerned with deep mines, surface (opencast) mines or quarries.

    Average salary: The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:where you work the size of the company or organisation you work for the demand for the job.The starting salary for mining engineers at graduate entry is usually between £20,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £50,000 a year and senior engineers can earn up to £70,000 a year, possibly more. Overseas salaries can vary widely depending on the project, contract and location. Salaries are usually higher in Australia, Canada and the USA.

    The requirements

    • physical fitness
    • computer aided design
    • analytical
    • handling complex information
    • health and safety awareness
    • meeting deadlines
    • planning budgets
    • problem solving
    • reliable
    • remain calm under pressure
    • technical ability
    • time management
    • First Degree
    • HNC
    • HND
    • science
    • IT
    • mining
    • maths

    Read further information about this career



    Mining engineers quarry engineers, design, construct operate mine quarry workings

    The work

    You could be:

    • exploring and surveying the proposed site and supervising test drilling
    • using computer-aided design (CAD) packages to design and plan underground and surface workings, including the sinking of shafts
    • ensuring that effective ventilation and pumping systems prevent gas, flooding and dust from affecting the mine
    • supervising the running of the mine and the extraction of the minerals or ores
    • managing drilling, blasting and other operations
    • taking overall responsibility for working conditions and safety in the mine, including structural safety
    • monitoring the effect the mine has on the local environment, and possibly restoring the site to its original state
    • planning timetables, meeting budgets, writing reports and giving presentations
    • looking at different ways of mining or improving mining systems.


    • You would work both in an office and on site.
    • Many jobs are overseas, so you would have to face a wide range of physical and weather conditions.
    • On site, the conditions could be hot, dirty, dusty and uncomfortable.
    • You may have to spend some time working in confined spaces, possibly underground.
    • There could be a lot of physical activity, including climbing ladders.
    • You could be at risk of accidents from equipment and you would have to wear protective clothing, headgear and footwear.
    • When working on site you may have to live in accommodation that is very basic, sometimes in remote areas.
    • You may have to work long hours or work shifts. You may have to be on call for emergencies.

    Getting in

    • You normally need a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or a degree in mining or minerals engineering. Other subjects such as civil or mechanical engineering or geology may be acceptable. In Scotland, there are no courses in mining engineering, but there are courses at a small number of institutions in England.
    • For entry to an HNC or HND course you normally need 1-3 Highers plus some subjects at Standard grade or National 5. For a degree course you need 3-5 Highers including Maths and Physics or Technological Studies.
    • Gaining relevant work experience while studying is very important for making contacts in the industry.
    • You may be able to qualify by other training routes.
    • You should have good general fitness in this work. There may be an allergy risk from dust.
    • Certain colour vision conditions may affect entry to careers in this branch of engineering.
    Because of the decline of mining in the UK, many British-trained mining engineers work abroad for large international mining companies. They often work in mine management, and move around several countries during their career. Some countries such as Australia have a shortage of mining engineers. Some mining engineers work in related areas such as tunnel construction.

    What does it take

    You need to have:

    • a self-reliant nature
    • good communication and presentation skills
    • good analytical skills
    • excellent technical ability
    • good maths, science and IT skills, including a knowledge of specialist software packages
    • a strong sense of responsibility and an awareness of health and safety issues.
    You need to be able to:
    • handle complex information
    • solve practical problems
    • plan, organise and prioritise programmes of work
    • keep within a budget
    • remain calm and work under pressure to meet deadlines
    • work on your own and also as part of a team, encouraging and motivating others.


    • After gaining your HNC, HND or degree and some further training with an employer, you can register with the Engineering Council as a professional engineer - either Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
    • For IEng you need to have either a recognised Bachelors degree or a recognised HNC or HND plus further study to Bachelors degree level.
    • For CEng you need to have a recognised Bachelors degree with Honours plus a recognised Masters degree (or equivalent), or a recognised integrated Master of Engineering (MEng) degree.
    • If you do not have any of the above qualifications, you may still be able to achieve IEng or CEng by other approved routes. You can check these alternative routes with the Engineering Council or with the appropriate professional engineering institution.
    • You may need to gain practical skills depending on the type of mine you work in.
    • You must update your skills and knowledge throughout your career.
    • The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) website has information on continuing professional development (CPD).

    More Information

    • The Engineering Council sets and maintains the standards of the engineering profession in the UK. It does so through 36 professional engineering institutions which are Licensed Members of the Engineering Council.
    • The Tomorrow’s Engineers website has more information on careers in engineering.


    Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)
    1 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5DB
    Tel: 020 7451 7300
    Notes: IOM3 also have a website devoted to careers in the mining and minerals industries at

    Engineering Council
    246 High Holborn London WC1V 7EX
    Tel: 020 3206 0500

    SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
    Scottish Engineering Centre 105 West George Street Glasgow G2 1QL
    Tel: 0141 221 3181
    Notes: SEMTA is the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies.

    Science Council
    Hodgkin Huxley House 30 Farringdon Lane Clerkenwell London EC1R 3AW
    Tel: 020 3434 2020
    Notes: The Science Council promotes the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of and education in science, technology, mathematics, computing and information technology. It awards the designation of Chartered Scientist (CSci) to those candidates who can meet the high standards required.

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