Mining Engineers work in mining and mineral extraction facilities. They are in charge of coordinating and supervising all the activities in the mine regarding digging, extracting, and transporting minerals out of the mine. Mining Engineers specialize in designing, developing, and testing machines, techniques, and processes for harvesting geological material.
A Mining Engineer’s field of expertise will depend on the type of ore or material they specialize in exploiting, including metals, oil and gas, coal, diamonds, and other minerals. Each of these materials requires special tools and methods of extracting, and it is up to Mining Engineers to design and implement them in order to achieve maximum productivity and quality of materials. Mining Engineers also need to be environmentally aware, finding ways to reduce the negative impact their activities have on nature.
The most common employers for Mining Engineers are mineral extraction companies that sell the materials they extract from the ground to refineries and other manufacturers. Mining Engineers’ work may be office-based, on site, or a combination of both. Most sites can be divided into two types: tunnel-mines and quarries.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Mining Engineers are required to complete.
- Scouting and selecting locations for mining:
- Using special equipment, tools, and machinery (e.g. drills, scanners, and probes) to analyze and test soil components and determine the presence of mineral deposits;
- studying and analyzing topographical maps to determine if extraction of minerals is possible;
- designing excavation and extraction strategies, estimating the necessary work force, machinery, time, and financial costs; and
- documenting and presenting project reports and presentations to employers and contractors.
- Planning and overseeing mine or quarry construction projects:
- Supervising the use of drilling equipment for tunnel construction;
- ensuring all safety procedures are followed, emergency equipment is placed, and evacuation routes are properly placed and designated;
- testing the air for toxic or hazardous gases, and constructing extraction shafts and vents when necessary; and
- implementing and rehearsing emergency procedures with mine workers.
- Overseeing mining activities:
- Inspecting the correct and proper functioning of machinery and equipment;
- repairing or replacing malfunctioning machines when needed;
- instructing workers in the correct use of tools and machines;
- ensuring that all workers comply with safety protocols and procedures, including using the mandatory safety equipment (e.g. goggles, helmets, gloves, and breathing masks when necessary); and
- writing and filling reports based on extraction activities, materials extracted, and incidents occurred.
- Ensuring that materials extracted meet the expected quality and quantity standards:
- Testing extracted materials to ensure quality; and
- liaising with mine workers and other personnel to ensure that extraction is at maximum capacity.
- Ensuring extracting activity and machinery meet the regulatory environmental and ecological standards in order to minimize pollution and negative impact.
- Testing and analyzing the soil to look for mineral presence.
- Reading and interpreting topographical maps to determine the position of possible mineral deposits.
- Inspecting and overseeing mining operations.
- Ensuring all safety measures and procedures are being followed.
- Documenting and reporting all mining activities and minerals extracted.
The average Mining Engineer salary in Canada is $67,918 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $95,000. These results are based on 4 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding creativity:
- Being able to create new production processes in order to reduce the use of materials, resources, time, or labour while still accomplishing the same goal.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills:
- Being able to understand and identify the issues or problems of an organization using critical thinking and logic in order to provide the right solutions;
- identifying the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems; and
- being precise and accurate in their calculations and analyses.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to convey clear instructions to their coworkers;
- having excellent listening skills so as to fully grasp ideas and problems when meeting clients for the first time;
- being able to read and write technical reports; and
- being capable of working alongside other professionals and serve as a bridge between the technical and business sides of an organization.
- Mathematical skills:
- Using the principles of calculus and other advanced math topics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting; and
- applying basic engineering concepts and other procedures to the design of new processes.
- Organizational and time management skills and great attention to detail:
- Being able to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;
- being able to handle more than one project at a time; and
- being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
- Result-oriented and driven to achieve continuous improvements.
In order to become a Mining Engineer, applicants must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and specialize in mineral extraction. Depending on the type of mineral they extract or work with, some employers may require further studies and preparation from their employees, therefore, a master’s or doctoral degree in Mining Engineering, Geology, or any other mineral related specialization may be expected.
All candidates applying for a job as a Mining Engineer must be proficient in MS Office and computer-aided design (CAD) software, especially AutoCAD, as well as being a registered professional in their corresponding province. Only licensed Engineers can practice this career in Canada. The provincial and territorial regulatory bodies for all Engineering careers in this country are the ones associated to Engineers Canada, which is in charge of overseeing all matters related to this field, including licensing. 
These professionals might work in an office while examining data and coming up with possible solutions, or they may work in situ, in the place they are hired to improve (e.g. watching workers do their job in a quarry or observing employees while they carry out their daily tasks). If hired by an international company, Mining Engineers will probably have to travel to make the appropriate observations and assessments on digging locations.