Quarry engineer

mining engineer

Career outlook for quarry engineer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help to decide if a site is suitable for a mine or quarry and safely set up and run the operations.

You would find the best way to extract raw materials from the ground. You’d also plan how to restore a site that has come to the end of its commercial life to a condition that fits in with the surrounding environment.

You could also work in the processing plants that refine raw materials such as china clay, slate and stone (known as aggregates) for use in industries like construction.

Working with minerals surveyors, you’d explore a new site to see if it has the potential to be a commercially viable operation.

You would:

  • Chart the geological make-up of a site using ground-surveying techniques
  • Drill earth and rock samples for lab testing
  • Build up computer models of a site and its deposits
  • Advise clients about how to proceed

If mining goes ahead, you’d decide whether to use blasting, drilling or excavation methods to extract the raw materials from the ground.

You would then:

  • Manage the day-to-day running of operations on the site
  • Oversee technical staff
  • Report on progress
  • Monitor health and safety
  • Make plans to prevent and deal with emergencies like a tunnel collapse or flooding

It is becoming more common to also assess the impact that a quarry or mine has on its surrounding environment. You might be responsible for making sure the site can be restored as closely as possible to its original state when the quarry or mine closes.

You’d need to have a clear understanding of health and safety issues. It would also be important to have a good knowledge of rocks and minerals and to keep up to date with new developments in the industry.

Working conditions


You would work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines.


Your time would be split between the office and the quarry or mine. Conditions on site are likely to be dusty, dirty and cramped. You would wear protective clothing at all times on site.


Some contracts may involve you working away from home, possibly overseas, for weeks or months at a time.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Time management
  • Developing a plan
  • Understanding
  • Analysing
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Working with numbers
  • Problem solving

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.


The normal entry route is to complete an Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or  degree (SCQF level 9/10) in areas like:

  • Minerals engineering
  • Mining engineering
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Earth sciences
  • Civil engineering

You can enter a relevant science or engineering Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at ABBB or above or a relevant HNC/HND. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate an understanding of the industry, practical and technical skills such as: 

  • Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCQF level 3)
  • Engineering Skills (SCQF level 5)
  • A college or university qualification in practical science or engineering subjects