The earth has its many resources. The rich layers of minerals have helped us survive for centuries now. These resources are found in a very different form in the earth's atmosphere compared to the forms in which we use them.
The gold that we buy, sell and use for occasions was formed millions of years ago in in the outer space, when a star exploded or became a supernova. During the formation of Earth, asteroids carried masses of gold and it was spread across the crust of the earth's surface.
So yes! Gold is from outer space. Isn't it interesting to think about how something that came millions of miles away is being used for daily use, and our stock exchange depends on the buying and selling of it. Even the technology we use and many medical purposes include the use of gold. All of this is possible because of mining engineering.
It isn't just gold, every mineral that is used for some or the other purpose is mined from the earth's surface. This process of extracting minerals and converting them into the forms that can be used by humans is called mining, and creating and using engines, machines, and tools for the purpose of mining, comes under the field of Mine Engineering. It involves exploration of mines, budgeting and feasibility studies, planning the design of the mines and its execution, production, operation and closure of the mines.
What do Mining Engineers do?
Mining Engineers plan out the designs for the mines and use principles of engineering, cutting edge technology and scientific theory for the secure and effective extraction of natural resources.
The designing of the mines involve both underground and above the ground sections. They are responsible for the supervision of both the operations and workers.
As a mining engineer, you will find yourself surrounded by Geologists and Metallurgical Engineers to find new mineral deposits.
Mining engineers will also be involved in developing equipment that is used for mining process and removing the minerals from rock and dirt.
How to become a Mining Engineer?
To become a Mining engineer one must have the knack to find the minerals settled in the deep layers of the earth crust. But academically speaking, one must finish their XII boards or the high school diploma with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as their main subjects.
Following which they must take up a four-year bachelor's course, which can be a B.E. or a B. Tech in Mining Engineering. M. Tech in Mining Engineering will take two years and the aspirant can continue studying and researching.
A person who has qualified their 10 board examination can take up the dreams of getting into the mining industry by taking up a three-year diploma course in the mining and mine surveying.
Students aspiring to get into the premier engineering institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and National Institute of Technology (NIT) must apply for Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) and must qualify for the advanced examination. Students aspiring for the post graduate courses must apply for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering(GATE).
There are other institutes, that offer these courses and have their own entrance examinations like, BITSAT (Birla Institute of Technology & Science Admission Test) and VITEEE (VIT Engineering Entrance Examination).
A Day in the life of a Mining Engineer
- Design open-pit and underground mines
- Supervise the operations of the mine
- Training and overseeing of personnel
- Supervising methods for transporting minerals to the various processing plants
- Safe and environmentally effective operation of mine
- Oversee the production rates to analyze the operations
- Limit the amount of water used in the operation, and keep pollution to a minimum.
- Prepare technical reports for miners, engineers, and managers.
There are various opportunities that a mining engineer will obtain, considering that many countries are focused on mining the resources in their geographical boundaries. Countries in the middle east like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait provide excellent job opportunities for job aspirants with good qualification.
China is the largest gold producing country in the world, producing 403t (tons) of gold in 2012, an 11.7% increase in production over the previous year, and the job opportunities are only expanding. Australia is currently facing a lot of crisis with respect to finding workforce related to mining.
The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy is already planning recruitments in large numbers, from overseas and has allocated resources worth more than US$ 2 billion to bring in skilled migrants.
Remuneration of a Mining Engineer
As a Mining Engineer, one will be getting a higher income as compared to the other engineers in various fields. In India, a mining engineer will receive an average salary of Rs.6,00,000 to Rs. 8,00,000 per annum.
The pay will depend on the qualification, knowledge, experience, the location that one is assigned at and the organization that one has to work with. In the US, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a mining engineer will be earning $94,040 annually and there is a 6% growth noted for the job.
Top Institutes in India offering a course in Mining Engineering
Top Institutes in the world offering a course in Mining Engineering
Royal School of Mines, London
Dalhousie University, Canada
South Australian School of Mines and Industries, Australia
The University of Pretoria, South Africa
Colorado School of Mines, USA