The two primary types of mine are underground mines and open-pit mines. Minerals that exist mostly underground (eg. coal, gold etc.) are generally recovered using the underground mining process. Minerals like iron ore, limestone, manganese ore, etc. are mostly recovered from the surface downwards in opencast mining. The need for mineral extraction and production is an essential activity of any technically proficient society. As minerals are produced from within a naturally occurring environment, disturbance of the environment as a result of mineral production is a given.
A mining engineer ensures the safe and economically sound development of mines and other surface and underground operations. The role combines an understanding of the effects of these structures on their surrounding environment, technical knowledge and management skills.
Before a new site is developed, mining engineers assess its viability and assist with planning its structure. They also manage and oversee mining production processes.
Nature of Work
Work activities vary according to the nature of the mine or site, but tasks typically involve:
- Liaising with engineers, geologists and other staff;
- Overseeing staff activities, either in one site section or throughout an entire mine;
- Ensuring that operations are functioning smoothly;
- Assuring the safety of mining equipment;
- Monitoring activities underground;
- Assessing mine equipment supplies;
- Managing monthly budgets;
- Keeping detailed records;
- Learning new skills as required, such as drilling and blasting;
- Overseeing the health and safety of the site, particularly in relation to issues such as ventilation;
- Costing and scheduling supplies;
- Assessing new mining sites;
- Establishing extraction systems;
- Planning for transition from surface to underground mining operations.
Mining Engineering is a field that involves many of the other engineering disciplines as applied to extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment.
Mining engineering is the extraction of valuable ores from the ground for processing and utilization. It involves all phases of mining operations starting from exploration and discovery, through feasibility, development, production, processing and marketing to final land restoration and rehabilitation.
Mining engineers are responsible for locating natural reserves of minerals, petroleum, and other useful natural substances, laying out plans, device shafts, inclines or quarries, safe extraction of these resources, whether they are coal or petroleum or metallic and non-metallic minerals from under the earth.
The early years generally consist of common core subjects such as Engineering Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanics, Engineering Computing, Management of Technology and Introduction to Design and Innovation.
Students also study various aspects of management including industrial relations, safety and professional ethics.
A degree in mining and petroleum and a certificate from The Director General of Mines and Safety, Dhanbad, is must.
It includes subjects like
- Design of engineering structures
- Environmental aspects of mining
- Rock Mechanics
- Computer applications
- Industrial management
Career prospects are with private and government companies and as a Consultant in the following areas:
- Production Manager in
- Underground coalmines
- Surface mines
- Underground metalliferous mine
- Mine Manager
- Mine Planning
- Mine Ventilation engineer
- Mining Investment Analyst
- Petroleum Engineer
Mining companies initially at the mining centres employ mining engineers where minerals are extracted. Even civil engineering construction companies employ mining engineers to supervise tunneling. In India most of the jobs for mining are with government and public sector organizations such as :
- The Indian Bureau of Mines
- Geological Survey of India
- Coal India Ltd
- Neyvelli Lignite Corporation
One can also enter into teaching and research in this field.