South America as a region is rich in mineral wealth, boasting one of the world’s largest copper, iron, bauxite and nickel deposits. According to a report released in December 2011 by the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy in Peru, the South American region makes a substantial contribution to the global production of these minerals. There are reports that over the past decade, mining investment in Latin America has more than doubled, even after experiencing a sharp drop in 2009.

According to a report in, Latin America remains the world’s leading region for mine exploration, attracting 25% of global expenditure in 2011.

I have had numerous requests in the past months to provide some information on what Geologists in South America are earning, as there seems to be very little information available.

According to the preliminary results of our Salary Survey, Geologists based in Mexico and Peru appear to be earning pretty comparative salaries to what they can expect to earn in Canada or the USA, with Chile not far behind. When comparing to Australia, they are significantly less, but then we have established that salaries across board in Australia are much higher, even when comparing to Canada and the USA. What was interesting is that Brazil seems to be lagging behind quite significantly in terms of what Geologists earn in the region. I am not sure as to why this would be? If anybody has any input it would be greatly appreciated.

So what are Geologists in these regions earning?

It was interesting to note the difference in what Geologists with 1 – 5 years’ experience will earn, depending on where in South America they work. Salaries in Mexico, particularly when looking at the median and 75%ile, are pretty comparative to what a Geologist can expect to earn in the USA or Canada. In Chile they were slightly lower but not too bad, however in Brazil there appears to be a dramatic drop in terms of what Geologists are earning, particularly on the median and 75%ile. From these results it appears that Geologists in Brazil are earning almost half of what their counterparts in other South America regions would be earning.

When looking at the results of the more senior Geologists ie those with 6 – 10 years’ experience, in Peru they are earning very competitive salaries to those in Canada or the USA, in Chile slightly less, but still relatively competitive.

7 Responses to “Geologists in South America – are their salaries comparative to those in other regions?”

  1. Ata Mensah

    Susan thanks for the great information you are helping us with . I would very much appreciate any such information on salaries for geologists in West Africa

  2. Paul Lhotka

    Susan thanks for an informative note (I see many which do not leave me feeling the same way!). Can you tell us how many geologists were included in the survey for each country? Also, is this the total compensation, or just the salary part? Do benefits vary greatly? The tendency is to look only at the salary, but sometimes other benefits are important. Junior companies with stock market listings sometimes offer stock options to geologists which can bring added upside. Big companies are less likely to do this, and government of course cannot. Salary surveys are not that rare, but I have seldom seen them widely published and never in South America. Have you any data for Argentina?

    The following link is a published one by a Canadian professional organization which shows salaries grouped by level of responsibility. It is part of a long running survey that might be of interest to others.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Paul, thanks for the input. Our salary survey is ongoing, so these are just some of the initial results. The data points used, vary tremendously from region to region, so its difficult to say exactly how many for each region. We are however working here on base pay ie before benefits, and before tax. And you are so right in saying that the benefits are important. Many Geologists salaries are pushed up substantially when you take their benefits into consideration, depending on what company they are working for. Thanks for the link above, this type of information is also wonderful to have.

  3. Michael Stamatakis

    Susan thanks for the significant information you provided to us. It would be great if one can collect all available info for salaries around the EU, South and North America. Michael

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Michael. Thanks for the positive feedback. We are going to putting more information up on Geologist salaries. So will keep you posted. Regards. Susan.

  4. Michael Stamatakis

    Dear Susan, thanks for the significant information you provided to us. It will be great if one can collect all available info for salaries of geologists of the given categories with the EU, North and South America. Michael


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