If you’re a technical person who enjoys working with people and you have an interest in the world of mining then a career as Mining Engineer could be for you.
Mining Engineers make sure that everything runs smoothly on mines, plants or sites. They coordinate and supervise daily operations that take place in their work environment. Mining Engineers are experts in all things mining. Part of their role is to develop or process new equipment for mining, improving work conditions and conducting research on work problems that affect the environment.
Engineers utilise their technical knowledge together with their management skills to assist them in successfully leading mining operations.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
- Pure Mathematics
- Physical Science
- Information Technology
- Engineering Graphics Design
The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in Mining Engineering:
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 35
- University of Johannesburg (UJ) – APS of 23
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – APS of 40+
The minimum accepted qualification is either a Bachelor’s Degree in Mining Engineering or a National Diploma. The qualification alone isn’t sufficient, practical experience is required for the ability to obtain a certificate of competency as a mine manager.
The following are some of the most key skills for a Mining Engineer to possess:
- Good Overall Health
- Be Creative and Initiative
- Organisational Skills
- Be a Leader
- Communication Skills
- Problem-solving Skills
As a Mining Engineer, you could work in one of the following environments:
- Mining Companies
- Mining Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers
- Universities of Technology and Universities
- Private Consultant
- Government Mining Departments
Generally, working hours are project based, which on most days are the standard 8am-5pm but there are instances where extra hours may be required either to resolve an issue or to meet deadlines. Some organisations have shift schedules. If that is the case then chances of always working longer hours is highly likely.
Most Mining Engineers are paid by an hourly rate, which is based on levels of qualification and years of experience. PayScale currently estimates the rate to be an average of R126.45 but the number can be higher than that for experienced engineers. The current annual salary estimate is between R204 000 to R1 000 000. Permanent employees can enjoy bonuses and profit sharing, whereas contractors are not offered bonuses due to the fact that their are paid by the hourly rate and that tends to be really high.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Mining Engineer:
- Projects are location based and depending on the size of the company, some projects might be internationally based, which means that engineers are generally away from home for the duration of the project. Some projects can take months to complete and others a couple of years. This is something you have to really consider if you desire having a family
- Mining Engineers conduct most of their work outdoors, with very little time being spent in offices
- The work is physically demanding as it requires high amounts of walking around the plants or sites
- Opportunity for growth is high and experience is what gets you ahead in this field
Are you wondering whether Maths and Science are really worth taking to matric? Well, we’ll be investigating why these subjects are actually important…