Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals such as coal and metals for use in manufacturing and utilities.
Mining and geological engineers typically do the following:
Design open-pit and underground mines
Supervise the construction of mine shafts and tunnels
Devise methods for transporting minerals to processing plants
Prepare technical reports for miners, engineers, and managers
Monitor mine production to assess the effectiveness of operations
Provide solutions to problems related to land reclamation, water and air pollution, and sustainability
Ensure that mines are operated in safe and environmentally sound ways
Geological engineers search for mineral deposits and evaluate possible sites. Once a site is identified, they plan how the metals or minerals will be extracted in efficient and environmentally sound ways.
Mining engineers often specialize in one particular mineral or metal, such as coal or gold. They typically design and develop mines and determine the best way to extract metal or minerals to get the most out of deposits.
Some mining engineers work with geoscientists and metallurgical engineers to find and evaluate ore deposits. Other mining engineers develop new equipment or direct mineral-processing operations to separate minerals from dirt, rock, and other materials.
Mining safety engineers use best practices and their knowledge of mine design to ensure workers' safety and to maintain compliance with state and federal safety regulations. They inspect mines' walls and roofs, monitor the air quality, and examine mining equipment for possible hazards.
Engineers who hold a master's or a doctoral degree frequently teach engineering at colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.