Even though times are tough in mining, salaries are still high. Salaries as a whole in mining are good, obviously depending on factors such as region, the size of the company, qualification and amount of experience. However as a norm you can expect to be paid pretty well and a lot better doing the same job than what you would be paid in many other industries. Individual mining salaries can vary dramatically depending on the above factors but in the United States, Canada, Australia and various other regions worldwide those in mining as a norm, are at the top of the international salary scale along with those in the oil and gas industry are.
So what are some of the top paying jobs in mining?
It seems that amongst those in management positions in mining that those in the capacity of General Managers, Project Controls Manager and Site General Managers are earning top dollars in mining and can expect to earn salaries ranging from $250,000 up to $350,000 per year in various parts of Canada and the United States. These positions are vital to the industry as they provide strategic leadership to the mining projects. Other key positions such as Mine Managers, Technical Services Managers and Drilling Operations Managers are still doing pretty well with salaries ranging between $220,000 and $300,000 per year. Project and Drilling Operations Directors are responsible for the overall planning, direction and the execution of projects, and because of this are in hot demand in recent years and are earning extremely high salaries in many regions with salaries that are in some cases in excess of $400,000 per year.
Engineers and especially engineers in mining are as a rule are very well paid. There are many forms of mining and geological engineering and there has been a notorious skill shortage amongst engineers across the globe in many industries in recent years, with mining being no exception. Senior Engineers can expect to earn anything up to around $230,000 per year, with those in consulting often earning more. Right at the top of the salary scale for those in engineering are the Principal Mine Planning Engineers who are in some regions of Canada and the United States earning in excess of $240,000 per year. Typically these salaries would be applicable for mining engineers, geotechnical engineers, drill and blast engineers, chemical engineers, nd mechanical and electrical engineers. Salaries for engineers as a norm will increase rapidly as the engineer gains experience, with a big jump in terms of what they can expect to earn straight out of university to what they will be earning with 3 – 4 years’ experience. Recently qualified Engineers are also earning a good wage with graduate Mining Engineers averaging up to $70,000 per year, starting salary in some regions in Canada and the USA.
Geology & Geosciences
Geologists in mining can also expect to earn competitive salaries with Exploration, Mine, Resource and Project Geologists earning up to and sometimes more than $200,000 per year. Geologists who achieve the rank of Chief Geologist can command salaries in excess of $220,000 per year. It seems amongst the Geologists that Exploration Geologists as a whole earn the most, with average salaries ranging between $90,000 and $200,000 per year, depending on experience. However Mine, Resource and Project Geologists salaries do not lag far behind those of the Exploration Geologists salaries. Starting salaries for Geologists are generally not as high as what an Engineers fresh out of university would earn but in comparison to many other industries are still good with an average of around $60,000 per year, sometimes higher being paid for a newly graduated Geologist in the United States and Canada.
Metallurgists with their ability to study the properties of metals and their knowledge of extraction, casting alloying and heat treating of metals are also vital to the mining industry and as such are also faring well in the salary stakes in mining, and can expect to earn up to and in excess of $220,000 per year in various parts of the United States and Canada. It is not uncommon for those who have worked their way up into the role of a Principle Metallurgist to earn more.
Health & Safety
Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental professionals are also popular professions in the mining industry, and attract top dollars. A typical OHS Officer and Environmental Officer can earn anywhere up to $110,000 per year, with a minimum salary of $60,000 per annum. Those in management or supervisory roles will earn more, in some cases earning in excess of $160,000 per year.
Trade & Skilled
Operators, Tradesmen and Miners also earn good highly competitive salaries in mining, because of the constant demand of their skill set. Depending on region, the amount of experience, and training they can earn anywhere up to $150,000 per year depending on where they are based and whether they are working underground or above ground. Due to the amount of training and education required to work underground, and the working conditions, operators and miners working underground will typically earn more. There are reports of Underground Miners in various parts of the United States and Canada earning in excess of $150,000 per year. Surface Miners generally earn less but can earn in excess of $85,000 per year. Those in a supervisory position such as Mine and Mill Supervisors, will typically earn a fair amount more because of the responsibility that goes along with supervising and coordinating the activities of workers engaged in underground and surface mining operations and quarries. Some Mine & Mill Supervisors are earning way in excess of $180,000 per year.
Whilst there has been an overall drop in the number of jobs in mining industry, opportunity and the potential to earn great salaries is still there. CareerMine, mining’s number one job board, currently has over 14,000 active mining industry jobs covering the full spectrum of mining, with hundreds of new opportunities added weekly. If you are new to the industry, or looking to work in the industry, have a look at some of these career introductory videos. Remember to network, a valuable aspect of your career development. There are many mining industry events throughout the year.