Mining Engineer

South Africa’s mining industry makes a significant contribution of around 8.2% to the national economy through extraction, processing and export of, amongst others manganese, platinum, gold, diamonds and chromite ore. Extraction of materials and minerals could be costly, dangerous, particularly in the case of underground mining and blasting and impacts the environment and land use. Mine engineering supports efficient and safe systems and processes of mineral extraction to minimise environmental and social risk.

Mining engineers plan and direct the engineering aspects of locating, extracting, processing and transporting materials and minerals from the earth. They assess the feasibility, safety and productivity of new mine sites, highlighting potential extraction, economic and environment risks. They then design the mine and develop and implement relevant systems, machinery and equipment needed, continuously monitoring and evaluating operational performance. Some assist in the selection and training of miners and ensure they follow strict health and safety precautions.

Mining engineers consult with geologists, geophysicists, economists and other professionals when evaluating and planning mines and mining operations. They work between an office environment and visiting mine sites to assess the effectiveness of designs and operations.

Skills

Mining engineers require a strong and practical understanding of the application of mine engineering principles, engineering modelling and design, coupled with:

  • Logical and creative problem-solving ability
  • Understanding of mining, safety, health and environment regulations
  • Strong project and organisation management
  • Good verbal and written communication skills

Tasks

Examine deposits or mines to evaluate profitability and risk

Develop mine designs and systems needed for extraction

Design and implement suitable methods and equipment for extraction

Establish operation safety standards and procedures

Studies

B.Sc.Eng. in Mining Engineering at Wits

B.Eng. in Mining Engineering at UP

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Mine Engineering at UNISA

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

Mining companies.

Mine equipment manufacturers.

Research institutions.

Private consultancies.

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