What's the Career of a Mining Engineer Like?

Over on Facebook, a young man named Bilal recently asked us for advice on whether or not a career as a mining engineer was right for him.

His question was such a thoughtful and detailed one that we thought we’d pose it here, and ask our readers what advice you’d give to someone considering a mining engineering career.

Here’s what Bilal had to say.

I’m currently in high school in Canada and I’m thinking about becoming a mining engineer.

What I’ve read around the internet in sites like yours makes the field sound very good with good job prospects, salary and importance.

There is one aspect of mining engineering however, that is making me doubt whether I’ll enjoy my career or not.  As a mining engineer would I have to constantly be moving around to isolated towns in the middle of nowhere?

Does it get boring to be in isolated mines?  Is there a chance of being able to keep a job near a major city center or are you required to be ready to pack up and leave at the first call from the company?

I’m all about travelling but I don’t want to be doing it for the rest of my life, I’d like to settle down with a wife and kids and I’m doubting whether that is possible with a career like this, unless of course I have the wrong idea.

Everything about the field sounds great except the notion that I may not be able to enjoy a stable city life once in a while.

Other than this I was also thinking about civil engineering, what is your advice?  Does mining engineering sound like the career for me? Your advice would be appreciated.

What do you think?  Is mining engineering a good career choice, or does isolation and frequent moves make this too difficult a job for some people?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

72 Responses to “What is it like to be a mining engineer?”

  1. mohammad qaredaqi

    hi Bilal
    maybe you become sad of my bitter words but these are my valuable experience
    i’m Mohammad, 28 from Iran, a mine engineer (Msc in mineral processing)
    mining jobs are hard and usually far from big cites. of course there are mines close to cities. mining sites are usually dusty, noisy and some extent dangerous. if i returned to high school i would choose something else. you know you can find better jobs and enjoy your life. choose a jobs that not make you live out of city and people. i recommend you not choose jobs like these that isolate you from people. honestly don’t do this!!!
    finally ,sorry for my bad English!

    Reply
  2. Ilias

    Hi Bilal,
    I’m 24 year old, married, enjoying my life and yes i’m a mining engineer working in the far north of Quebec. How comes ?
    I’m working on a 3-2 schedule, it means that i’m working three weeks in the mine site and i’m 2 weeks off. It’s perfect if you like to travel. I’m based in a big city, i have a house there, a wife and a life. Beeing a mining engineer doesn’t mean that you’ll be far away from town all the time, There’s some sacrifices to do specially in the begining of your career.
    Don’t forget also that being a mining engineer don’t oblige you to work on a mine site, you can work as consultant based in a big city. Then your salary will be nearly the same as any other junior eng. in any other engineering field.
    The fun in mining for me is the fact of being in the field, facing problems, doing planing, adjusting schedules and budgets, dealing with the unknown ! Because you’re dealing with something that you don’t realy know untill you dig to it and you have it in front of you.
    You’re not obliged neither to pack that often, if you like your job you can stay as long as you want. But don’t forget, a mine can close as fast as it opens. Choose a good company with a stable production if you want to avoid packing. Yes because in mining you can often CHOOSE. This is a luxury advantage that you don’t have in other industries.
    All in all, being a mining engineer is something that not everyone can do, it comes with some sacrificies that you should be aware from now, but the result at the end worth it for me.
    We can’t have anything we want in our life at the moment we want to have it. Planing your life is the key. You’re young i guess and you have a lot of experience to get. If you’re a person that likes challenges mining is a great field for you, if you want to have a booring life behind a desk since your graduation mining is not for you. Also if you seek ONLY money from being a mining engineer and challenges are not on your stimulating-things list, please avoid mining, for you and for your collegues.

    Reply
  3. Ulrike Lorenz

    Hi Bilal,
    I’m living in Chile and I like to explain the system over here:

    I think first of all you have to understand, that there are two possibilities
    1. To work in the mining industry directly
    2. work in consulting industry

    The two points are quite different, exactly in the point you are afraid of. When you are working in the underground mines, of cause you follow the rhythm of the mine. This can be faraway form civilization but not necessarily. There are also mines near cities. My husband for example works in “El Teniente” (about 1 hour from Rancagua, Chile) and comes all days at home and we have a happy family as well. I know people working in these mines faraway from everything but they work 10 days and have 10 days free (alternatively 7:7) and they have families as well.

    In the consulting industry your normally earning less money but you have changing projects and so changing conditions as well. Where I am working the mining engineers almost don’t leave office. They are doing the calculate- and modeling work. The geologist and technical geologist are the ones who are making the fieldwork.

    Reply
  4. Piet Viljoen

    Bilal,
    I am 55, was born on a mine from an artisan father and shop clerk mother.
    Those years we were living on the poor side of the railway tracks and the managers were on the other side of the railway tracks. We were not allowed to mix with the rich kids, since we were the poor kids. All artisans and miners were poor, only the management were rich. My father told me then that I must study to be a mining engineer, that way I would be part of the management and also stay on the “rich” side of the railway tracks.
    That was true, I did study hard and finally became part of that “elite”.
    Now that I am entering the last part of my career and look back over the years I can, with respect, say that everything has changed since then.
    I have seen it all, and lived it all, I do not know anything else. I made up my mind at the age of 18 years to work hard, study hard and I will reach the top, which I did. My plan is to retire in 5 years at 60. The mining industry looked after me and my family very well but I had to give my pound of flesh, (maybe a few tons), but it was all worth it. I made a lot of mistakes in my life, but every time came out stronger on the other side. The first 10 years it is building a career, then family life suffers, the second 10 years is to position yourself in a more stable environment, and the last 15 years it was more planning and company strategic issues (more office work and boardrooms). The last few years I left the operational and corporate environment to do more consulting work. This is my “give back” to the industry time, and teach other people. Time to put my vast experience to good use (I have been in India for 3 years and now in Russia for a year).
    Mining is a tough game, and made for iron men, but with today’s tools and equipment, it is actually much easier as 20 to 30 years back. You must just go into it with an open mind, willing to learn. Patience must be your motto. I personally decided not to take a position, or the next promotion, until I knew all that is required of that next position, from miner to shiftboss to mine overseer to underground manager to production manager to mine manager and general manager, etc. Learn from the bosses and piers alike, suck their brains dry.The further you advance the more you will tend to focus more on certain fields and later become an expert on one thing only. Be careful to not fall into a trap of becoming a jet pilot that wants to touch down and take off again too quickly. Stay long enough in a job or position to know all that is required to be a professional. Get all the necessary qualifications (technical and theoretical), then make sure that you get the required experience (practical applications) at the right places in order to become a competent person. Also make sure that a competent person assess you every time to make sure that you are on the right track.
    If you want to know more, e-mail me at pietviljoen@mweb.co.za
    Best of luck, the mining industry needs young good solid people to continue it’s existence.

    Reply
  5. Steffen

    Mining is an excellent career…please take it from me. I am from Botswana and studied both in UK and Canada…and i enjoy my career….Don’t be scared.

    Reply
  6. yusuf

    Hello! I see that one has to register and get a licence in many countries. Can anyone tell me what’s the catch here. Does this situation limit my options to practice individually straight out of school after bachelors. One more thing, even in high demand employers don’t want to hire without masters or experience. Any advice for this future geologis? Thank you everyone!

    Reply
  7. yogesh

    I am a Graduate from the Electrical background, want to do masters in mining .. is it better to do Pg.Diploma or Graduate Diploma ?????????

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Yogesh, thanks for the question and feedback. I am not sure which is best. Does anybody else have any ideas? I will try to do some research and see if I can help guide you in the right direction!! Regards. Susan.

      Reply
      • Sahil Jindal

        I am studying b.tech mining in national institute of technology,jalandhar(INDIA)..People used to scare me telling that no family life is there in mining,but money is great..Can u explain these two things to me??

        Reply
        • Susan Kihn

          Hi Sahil. Thank you for your enquiry in response to our article on the CareerMiner. Firstly congratulations on your studies, a BTech in mining engineering is a great qualification to have. So far as what people tell you with regards to having no family life as a Mining Engineer, the reason that they say this is because many mines are situated remotely, which does mean time away from family. However the majority of mining companies will take this into consideration and do try to plan so that you do not spend too much time away from home. The money is generally very good and Mining Engineers as a rule are paid well. However it is important to remember when chosing a career that it is not just about the money, and that it is important to enjoy what you are doing and to have a passion for the mining industry. Good luck with your career choice, and remember to always follow your dreams. Regards. Susan.

          Reply
  8. rohan

    i am a chemical engineer and wants to do my masters in mining engineering. So my question is that is it a good combination of chemical + mining ?????

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Rohan, from what I can see yes it is a great combination to have and a sought after qualification to have. If anybody else has any comments or advise for Rohan they are welcome to put them forward….

      Reply
      • Sherry

        Hello, I am a student currently doing a Bsc in Mining Engineering.
        How does it work to have a degree in chemical engineering and then a masters in mining engineering?
        What kind of position can you obtain with this and would you be considered a Mining and Chemical engineer after?

        Reply
        • Susan Kihn

          Hi Sherry,having both a degree in chemical engineering and mining engineering is a great combination and can only help you if you are wanting to pursue a career in mining. Both chemical and mining engineers play a critical role in the mining industry so you cannot go wrong with either, or both! There are a number of career opportunities you could follow including both technical engineering roles as well as long term looking into more management roles such as a Mine Manager.

          Reply
          • Sherry

            Hello, perhaps i phrased my question wrong
            if you are en rolled in one how do you obtain a masters in the other.. Would you not have to obtain a master in your chosen field.

            ex.BACH Mining & Master in mining vs bach. of Mining and Masters in Chemical….

  9. zakithi

    I’m in highschool living in south africa,gauteng I’m considering mining engineering because I find it interesting,challenging and different + the money is good. I’d just like to know after graduating for a degree is there a job guarunteed?are there ever people with a mining degree but still unemployed?

    Reply
  10. zakithi

    Is there a job guaranteed after graduating?are there ever people who are unemployed with a degree?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Zakithi, thank you for the feedback. Generally speaking, Mining Engineers are able to find jobs without much difficulty upon graduating, however you do need to keep in mind that employment opportunities vary from region to region. With the downturn in mining, there may a period where it is not so easy for Mining Engineering graduates in some regions to get work, however this should hopefully be short lived and when the mining sector improves it should rectify itself. There has been a tremendous shortage of skills in many regions over the last few years, so graduate Mining Engineers generally are able to find work without much problem, but as I said this can depend on where they are based. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Zakithi, no one can ever guarantee that you will get a job, and so often what type of job you get and how much you will earn depend on where you are based, what the job market is like etc. However a degree in mining is always good to have, and generally will lead to a great career!! Good luck….

      Reply
  11. Ronald

    Hi,i am in highschool busy doing grade 12.i wanted to do veterinary science next year but now i’m so much interested in mining engineering.i thnk its a good field for me…did i made the right choice?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Ronald, thank you for the feedback. Mining Engineering is a great profession to follow, the money is always good and because there has been a shortage of skills in many regions, Mining Engineers are generally in demand. You do need however to really have a passion for mining… you can work long hours, in remote locations, far away from home, so its important that it be something you really enjoy, as good as the money is, money is not everything! Regards. Susan

      Reply
  12. Andrew

    Hi susan i am currently doing 1st year at 1 of the best mining engineering schools in the world wits university i am bt i am considering changing 2 another degree program…is it a rite choice 4 me 2 do so or should i stick 2 mining 2 the end,my concern is if i will find a job wen i graduate and if i do will the industry sustain me until i retire or wil it die…??? industry

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      HI Andrew, if mining is your passion stick with it, Mining Engineers are sought after. Yes things at the moment are not great in mining, but it is cyclical and it should turn. It always does. If your heart is not really in mining then chose another field, as you really do need to be dedicated and have a passion in mining, to be happy in the industry. However should you chose to stick with it, the salaries are highly competitive and there is tremendous opportunity for you long term, world wide. Good luck..I hope you make the right decision for you….

      Reply
  13. Ghulam Mehdi

    I am being as a Mining Engineering student 4rm Pakistan say that if You are challenger and adventurer then Mining field is best 4 U otherwise no useful 4 U.

    Reply
  14. Mehan

    I’m in Year 10 in Australia, and I like Bilal, am concerned about the moving around that may be involved. I was wondering if someone could tell me a rough estimate in difference between a Mining Engineer who works in the mines, compared to an office Mining Engineer.

    Reply
  15. William Henama

    Hi am a first year student studyng towrds my Diploma in electrical engineering,my passion lies upon mining engineering becouse its been my dream job since my grade12 last year.So am thinkng of finishng my diploma in electrical engineering then after that start doing my dream career so i can bring them together.Is it a good idea thou?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi William, I think you are making a very wise choice, both Electrical and Mining engineering qualifications are highly regarded,and to have both can only enhance your career. Good luck.. I am sure you will have a wonderful career ahead of you what with your qualifications and great attitude!!

      Reply
  16. Ratidzo

    Im doin mining n mineral processing engineering here in zimbabwe but people are discouraging me saying its a job for males + its very dangerous.how far true is that?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Ratidzo,thank you for the message. So far as the danger aspect of mining goes, so much depends on where you are based. In many regions mining safety is of top priority and for this reason all measures are taken to ensure the safety of the miners. There are however mines as well where the conditions are not good, and safety is an issue. Being a female may also be a problem in some regions. I would suggest that you try to find out from those working in the mines that you are looking at, and get some information from them as to what the conditions are like. Also to speak to other female miners in your region and try to get some indication as to what you can expect. Good luck, I hope that you are able to get the necessary information in order to make the right decisions for your career. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  17. Mustafa

    Hi Susan,
    I just finish second year of mechanical engineering. I am thinking to change my major to civil or mining. I am passionate about mechanical but the job prospect is not looking that bright in Victoria Australia. My first question – should I complete my mechanical and get my masters in mining or should I change my major to mining now. Please advise…

    Reply
  18. Jairo usma

    I have an industrial engineering degree, i am going to apply for my masters in mining engineering. What is a better degress choice above ground minng ir undeeground mining ?also do you think i will get a job offer fast after graduation in 2 years?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Jairo. Thank you for the feedback. You can never go wrong with a masters in mining engineering, as it is a very sought after, highly regarded qualification. So far as to how quickly you will get a job after graduating, there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Mainly where you are based and the current job market. In many regions of the world even with the mining industry in a down turn there is a demand for mining engineers. However as I said a lot depends on where you are based and the demand for mining engineers in that region. So far as to whether you should specialize in underground or above the ground mining goes, I am not sure which is best, I think both are very much in demand. Any feedback from anybody in the know would be appreciated! Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  19. mbuso xaba

    hey Susan, i currently hold a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering and i am currently completing my B-Tech on a part time basis. Lately i’ve been strongly thinking to quit Chem.Eng since a B-Tech wont get me far as a degree in the field would do and also due to scarce job opportunities. Mining Engineering is currently a field im falling inlove with and im not hesitant to start doing the degree but my main concern is that a mine can quickly close as it can easily open, meaning young/junior mine engineers would have difficulty in finding jobs. is it wise to consider a career in mining ????

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Mbuso. Thank you for the feedback. Mining does tend to run in cycles, there are the boom years and then there are times like now, where there is a decline. However at the end of the day it always seems to rectify itself. You must also remember that if you cannot grow it, it has to be mined, so there will always be room for mining. Also the better qualified you are the better your chances of finding a job, so if you have the means that you can pursue a degree in Mining Engineering, I believe it can only help you long term! Good luck in your decision making!

      Reply
  20. Geran J. Elisha

    Hi Susan , Im currently study Mining Engineering . I would really like to see myself progress in my chosen career . I hear that one could become mine managers or even general managers ,are there any courses out there I could do to increase my chances of a promotion ?

    Your advice would be much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Geran. Thank you for the feedback. Apart from leadership ability, it’s important for a mine manager to have a broad understanding of the whole mining process. This includes knowing what the processing side of a mining operation is about, being financially savvy and knowing what the cost drivers are in an operation, and also understanding other “softer” issues, such as managing stakeholders. One way to get this broad understanding is to continue developing yourself beyond mining engineering once you are in the workplace. EduMine has a large offering of self-paced online courses that can be accessed at any time and in any place as long as there is an internet connection. This gives people interested in broadening their knowledge and understanding the option to continuously develop themselves. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  21. Baz

    Hi Susan,

    First of all I’d like to say thanks for all of your informative replies. You’re really conscientious, and it was a pleasant surprise for me to come across such an active thread!

    So, I’m a geologist with ~10 years experience in geotechnical investigations, and I’m halfway through my Masters in Mining Engineering. I’m wavering between finishing that off, or commencing a Masters in Geotechnical Engineering/Engineering Geology. I want to be involved in large scale/long term projects dealing with hard rock excavation/tunnelling – and am finding that I don’t want to be doing piecemeal, repetitive work (such as geotechnical often is).

    Could you please tell me whether you think a Mining Engineering career would provide me the tunnelling experience that I’m after? I’m not sure if I’m mistaken in my understanding of what a Mining Engineer normally does, day to day.

    Thanks again for your dedication in answering all of our questions,
    Baz.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Dear Baz,
      Getting a Master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering may in fact give you more relevant theoretical skills for future hard rock excavation/tunneling work than if you complete the Master’s degree in Mining Engineering. You would probably find the courses you have to take would build on your working experience and deepen your understanding of geotechnical engineering. However changing your direction still won’t guarantee that you will find your dream job! Obtaining a Master’s degree, whether in mining or geotechnical engineering, along with your ~10 years’ experience in geotechnical investigations should serve as a springboard with which to accelerate your career into a role which has a greater “project management” responsibility, so you increase your chances of getting the interview for an excavation/tunneling project position should you come across one! Good luck with your decision making!

      Reply
  22. Ben

    Hi everybody. I am a BSc graduate in Physics and Mathematics and want to pursue a career in the mining industry. Can anyone help me which steps to take? Over and above, I was wondering if am I not too old start a new career in the mines as I am 35 years old now. I was thinking of taking short-course such as Strata Control L2, L3 and L4; then apply for National Diploma in Mining at UNISA. Do you think is that good idea. Any advice is welcome.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Ben. You are never to old to start working towards breaking into the mining industry, if this is your passion! And 35 is certainly not old. All of the courses you mention would be good to look into. Have you considered expanding your knowledge and skills on EduMine? EduMine offers continuing education programs of accredited short courses, live webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, supported by a network of mining schools and course providers. For more information go to http://www.edumine.com

      We at CareerMine are not actively involved in the recruitment process with any of the recruiters on our site, but rather provide a service for companies to advertise their positions on CareerMine. However If you are actively looking for a job in the mining industry, you may register on our website and post your resume. Your resume will then become searchable though our database. This service is for free. Please follow this link if you wish to proceed: https://secure.infomine.com/careers/resumes/welcome.aspx?language=EN

      You may also Feature your resume which will ensure that your resume stays close to the top of the list and you will have a better chance of being contacted by a company. It is also highlighted and edited. The cost for 6 months is Can$65.00 (approx. US$65.43)

      We currently have over 14 000 active jobs in mining listed on our site, worldwide. You can do job searches, without a job access subscription you will be able to respond to some of the jobs on the site but not all of them, should you wish to be able to respond to all of the jobs on the site, you will need to take out a job access subscription. This costs $12 a month. Please follow this link should you wish to proceed. https://secure.infomine.com/subscribe/account.asp?action=1&package_id=45&payment_interval_id=1

      Good luck with your decision!

      Reply
  23. arif

    Hi Susan. Hope you doing fine. I just completed my mechanical engineering 2014 dec pass out but have no clue what to do next. I’m not really sure what I am good at and what I want to do further. Any pointer to take my mechanical career ahead would be deeply appreciated. Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Arif. Thanks for the feedback. Congratulations on competing your Mechanical Engineering degree. I would suggest if possible that you try to apply for intern positions or any position where you may be able to gain some work experience. It is always hard to get that first job when you do not really have much practical experience. If you are finding it hard to get a paid job to start with possibly consider volunteering for a month or two. Once you have some experience it makes it so much easier to get a job. Also have a look at our graduate job board, and see if there are any suitable jobs available. If you haven’t already I would also suggest that you register and post your resume onto our sites http://www.careermine.com that way your resume will be visible to all the recruiters on our site. Good luck I hope a great position becomes available for you. Regards. Susan

      Reply
  24. Jackson

    hi Susan

    I just want to know something because I heard the rumours that say if you are a mine engineer you will spend a lot of time away from the cities right.

    so I want to know that if I knock off after work where will I go to sleep?? because I will more far away from home.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Jackson. Thank you for the feedback. You are right in that many mines are located remotely and not near cities or towns. In this situation you would probably live in a mine camp. Mine camps will provide you with accommodation, meals etc. I have just written an article on the blog about life on a mine camp. You should read it, it will give you a fair amount of information in terms of what you can expect. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  25. Jackson

    hi Susan

    I just want to know something because I heard the rumours that say if you are a mine engineer you will spend a lot of time away from the cities right.

    so I want to know that if I knock off after work where will I go to sleep?? because I will be more far away from cities

    Reply
  26. mauda

    Is there a good outlook for mining engineering?, how much do they earn ?how many hours do they work

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Mauda.Thank you for the enquiry. There is generally great opportunity for Mining Engineers, it is a good qualification to have and can offer an exciting career.It is important to remember however that mining is down so jobs are not as abundant as they once were, and in some region it is hard to find a job in mining at present. A lot also depends on where you are based etc. Salaries also vary tremendously depending on where you are based, how much experience you have etc. I would suggest if you are looking for a job in mining that you register and post your resume onto CareerMine http://www.careermine.com We have around 14 000 active mining jobs worldwide at any given time. We are also the largest mining job board globally. To register and post your resume is for free. Good luck.

      Reply
  27. Zach

    Hi Susan.
    Thanks for starting such an informative web conversation. I am currently a Junior at the University of Minnesota. I didn’t discover my interest in earth sciences, geology, mining, etc. until last year and have been taking courses related to geophysics/geology/geoengineering degrees offered here ever since. I’m at a point now where I need to pick one of those three majors to complete. I would love to get into the mining industry especially something with fieldwork. I’m physically fit and would love working right in the mines or outdoors. I don’t care a thing about the money or salary I just want to be able to land a job I like and that challenges me and the mining industry sounds great and I’m all up for challenges. Also I think the 2 weeks of work 1 week off sort of job schedule sounds absolutely perfect for the kind of person I am, making me want to get into the industry even more.

    As someone in the industry, which of those 3 degrees may lead to best options for the sort of direction I’m looking to head, with the most field work opportunities but also good job prospects? I enjoy the material in all three subjects. I was thinking geophysics since that seems to be more on the geo exploration side of things which seems like a lot of fieldwork, a good challenge, and I really enjoyed a class I took called principles of geophysical exploration that dealt with techniques to estimating where the underground goods are. Also would any degree paths require more education beyond a bachelors? I’ve started wondering if I should actually be at a mining school instead… Anyways, cheers to all the helpful advice!
    Zach

    Reply
  28. William Starcher

    Hi Susan,
    Is a double major on mechanical and mining engineering ultimately be the best fit for mining engineering career, and will this combination make me a highly marketable graduate?
    Thank you,
    Will

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi William. Thank you for the query. I think you have made an excellent choice by doing a double major in mechanical and mining engineering, as this basically widens your skillset tremendously. Keep at your studies, and you will be rewarded long term. Good luck. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  29. Siboniso Mthethwa

    Hi Susan,
    I have completed a Bcom Economics degree from the University of Pretoria 3 years ago I’m not happy in my current job. I registered for National Diploma in Mining Engineering at Unisa last year and I’m doing well so far, but the challenge I have is that many mining companies do not advertise learnerships program/ in-service training is it required before obtaining the qualification. And my other worry is that it is very rare to see a position advertised for Junior Mine Engineers. Last but not least, maybe I’m too dreaming is the combination for both Bcom Economics and Mine Engineering gonna work for me?
    Sboniso, Pretoria

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      H Siboniso. Thank you for your response to my article. Firstly congratulations on the commitment you are showing to your studies. To have a combination of a BCom Economics and a Mine Engineering degree can only work to your advantage. This will show recruiters that not only do you have the technical skills necessary to become an Engineer in the mining industry, but that you also have the business knowledge that goes along with it. For this reason I would really suggest that you keep going with your Engineering degree and get it finished. Inservice training jobs are not that easy to come by at the moment as the mining industry is so down and there are not a lot of jobs available. I would however suggest that you keep trying and pursue your dreams, do not give up. Apply for as many jobs as you can, and if necessary and you are able to even offer to do some voluntary work for mining companies just to get your foot in the doorway and to gain some experience. However so far as your combination of studies go, I really do not see how you can go wrong with them. Good luck, I hope all works out for the best.

      Reply
  30. Aizat

    Hye Susan,
    I just read all the comments regarding mining.Thats very informative. I am Mechanical Eng graduate. I want to ask you, is it possible for a mechanical engineering graduate to be a mining engineer after joining the field for few years?and one more thing if the mine is already settled. I mean the mine is close as there is no longer product, what can i do next?Thank you.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Aizat. Thank you for the feedback. Both Mechanical Engineering and Mining Engineering degrees are wonderful to have. I would suggest that you enquire at the university you have been studying at in order to find what the requirements would be in order to study Mining Engineering after you have completed the Mechanical Engineering degree. The requirements vary tremendously depending on where you are situated. Many jobs overlap in mining, so both would be good to have. Good luck with your studies. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  31. Tafadzwa M Sigauke

    Dear Susan
    lm an 18 year old doing high school in Zimbabwe. I’ would love to study Mining engineering over seas. Specifically. in UK or Australia, And l would like to know if whether if you are a mining engineer, you would be able to open a company of your choice?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Tafadzwa. Thank you for your interest. Mining Engineering is always a good qualificatoin to have, however when it comes to working overseas one needs to remember that you would require a work permit to work in countries such as the UK or Australia. Whether or not you are able to get a work permit will often also depend on whether you can get a job in these countries. Given that mining is so depressed at the moment and that jobs are tight, it is more difficult to obtain work experience internationally. I would suggest however that you register and post your resume on CareerMine, http://www.careermine.com we have around 14 000 mining jobs jobs available internationally. That way your resume will also become visible to the recruiters on our site. Good luck in your studies, Mining Engineering is a great career to follow.

      Reply
  32. Susan Kihn

    Hi Yuko. Thank you for the enquiry. Mining Engineering is a very good qualification and well worth pursuing. So far as doing a masters, it is always good to have but not essential in order to get a good job. So far as becoming a Structural Engineer I would suggest you contact the university you are considering and ask them what the process would be to be able to become a structural engineer if you have a mining engineering degree. In some regions they do pretty much the same job. So far as salary goes it will depend on where you are based in the world. The salaries vary tremendously depending on where you are working, however typically the salaries are higher in countries such as Austalia, Canada, the USA and UK. Regards. Susan.

    Reply
  33. Tsholofelo

    I am interested in studying mining engineering in South Africa but with the economic downturn i am afraid of going into a dying profession. With big mining companies such as Anglo selling assets as well as reducing its employee numbers just to stay afloat i am afraid of finishing my qualification and still going without a job…after all these years, do you still believe mining can make a upturn??…will the industry ever recover or should i be looking into other fields to study?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Tsholofelo. The mining industry is very depressed and has been for some years now, it is important to remember however that mining is cyclical, and that it should eventually start improving. Mining in South Africa is especially vulnerable as there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration such as the economy as a whole, and the history unrest in the industry. However I would suggest you follow your dreams and if mining is an industry that you are passionate about, then study to become a Mining Engineer. Jobs are scarce and its not as easy to get in as it was in past years, but with the right qualifications and a bit of determination you should be able to break into the industry. Good luck. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  34. Shreshth

    I have done B.Tech in Geo-informatics from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, India and also have 2 years of experience as subject matter expert in petroleum geology for CGI Pvt Ltd, India, I am planning to pursue diploma or advance diploma in minerals and mining from Canada. I don`t want to work behind the desk any more. So, what you guys think, is this the good move, future job (Career) wise?

    Reply
  35. Arslan

    Hi.
    I am personally split between pursuing mining or mechanical engineering. I have decided to pursue a dual major in mech and mining engineering (From Wollongong, Australia, a reigon known typically for its coal mining)
    I have only two questions:
    1. Will this particular dual major increase my employability after graduation in the mining sector? Technically, I would have a strong understanding of mechanical skills in addition to mining.
    2. Is coal mining ‘in demand’ at present or will be in the future?
    Any reply will be highly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Arslan, A dual major in mechanical and mining engineering is a great combination to have. Having a dual major should help you in your job search once you qualify. Please keep in mind though that the mining industry is depressed, and that jobs are scarce. Coal mining has also been down, so it may take time to break into the industry. Mining is however cyclical and it should pick up again, but who knows for sure when! I would suggest you focus on your studies, and once qualified grab any internship or work experience that you can get. The more experience you have, the better your chances of securing a good job. Good luck with your studies. Regards. Susan

      Reply
    • Theo

      Arslan.

      I will also highly recommend against going solely with a mining degree at this point in time. Mining companies have been shedding jobs for a few years now and there is no end in sight (yet). There is always the possibility that the industry will turn around, but it is difficult to predict.

      We may be going into a future where minerals are less in demand due to the world’s population levelling off and a decrease in infrastructure spending; meaning that mining will take a backburner.

      I am a mining engineer, formerly very well compensated – but have chosen to leave the industry for greener pastures. I realized recently that not one mining engineer from my graduating class still works in the industry – which is pretty shocking.

      If mining rebounds for some reason (And a mid-2000s rebound is unlikely to ever occur again) there is still an oversupply of talented individuals who will be competing for vacancies. Mining is a very small industry and when salaries were all over the headlines 10 years ago, many people moved to enter the industry; far more than the industry can support.

      I would pursue mechanical engineering, which will give you far more flexibility in deciding what sort if industry you would like to work in.

      Reply
  36. Chris Winters

    I can definitely see why geotechnical engineering would require a lot of traveling. I have always been interested in mining and how minerals are used in manufacturing. I absolutely love the idea of geotechnical technology advancing and creating much more streamlined mining techniques.

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Patience. I don’t think Mining Directors will suffer too much, they as a whole have a good life, mining is an exciting varied industry, and those in senior roles, work very hard but are paid extremely well and as a whole have a passion and real commitment to the industry. Regards. Susan.

      Reply
  37. Anonymous

    I am currently doing mining Engineering, I would like to know what job opportunities are there with a degree in mining eng outside the mining sector if there is, or what other careers can i consider with this degree?

    Reply
    • Susan Kihn

      Hi there. Mining Engineering is generally pursued if you are specifically wanting to work in engineering in mining,if you are not sure if mining is the right industry for you, it may be better to still pursue an engineering degree, but to major in mechanical, electrical or another field of engineering where there are jobs in both mining and other sectors. I am sure there are subjects that you are doing that would be transferable to other industries. I suggest you have a chat with a student adviser at your university and see if they can assist you. Good luck with this. Regards. Susan.

      Reply

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