What does a Mining Engineer do?

A mining engineer applies engineering principles, technology, and scientific knowhow to the extraction and processing of natural resources, in order to create new materials that are essential to our everyday life. There are many places where a degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona can be applied. UArizona Mining Engineers work with artificial intelligence to optimize mine production, develop more sustainable extraction and refining processes, utilize drones to monitor slope stability, and develop innovative methods of restoring mined land.

University of Arizona Mining Engineering Alumni at an Aggregate Mine

Quick facts:

Benefits

  • $55,000 to 70,000 starting salary.
  • $91,000 median salary in 2019.
  • Minimum degree requirement: Undergraduate.
  • Total employment: 329,000+ jobs at the end of 2019, not including oil or gas extraction.

UArizona Mining Engineering

Academic Focus Areas

  • The mining engineering major has four tracks:

    • Mine Operations

    • Geomechanics

    • Sustainable Resource Development

    • Mineral Processing

Pursue your passion

With the option to shape your education around your interests, you'll have freedom with your career options. Our multiple tracks allow you to find your passion and follow it with the support of our professors.

Operation Management:

For a mine to run safely and effectively, management is key. This area of mining is all about scheduling, efficiency, and communication. Operation managers overlook large portions of mining operations and help plan and organize the best means to extract ore and keep workers safe.

Mineral Processing:

Mining doesn’t stop when ore is pulled from the ground. To get a specific element or mineral, most rocks need to go through some kind of processing. Students choosing to pursue mineral processing learn the ins and outs of different processes to extract a variety of minerals including copper, zinc, silver, & more.

Geomechanics:

We know where to mine for materials and how to do so safely because of geomechanics. A student in this field will learn to analyze the stability of different types of rock to ensure the safety of mining operations, as well as provide reliable information on where to expect mineralization.

Sustainable Resource Development:

As we come to better understand our impact on the environment, we learn to look to the future. In recent years, there has been greater pressure to be more environmentally friendly in mining practices, which has led to opportunities for innovative solutions. Students pursuing sustainable resource development understand the process of reclamation and drive forward new solutions for future problems.

 

Interested in becoming a Mining Engineer?

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Make a difference

Mining Engineers help solve problems that are important to society.

The average person will go through 37 billion tons of minerals in their lifetime, according to some estimates. In the last year alone, each person in the US made use of an average of 40,000 pounds of minerals. In order to meet these needs, mining engineers apply their skills and knowledge to extract and process minerals in a safe, environmentally sound, and socially responsible manner. The work is not only important, but also meaningful.

Adventure is out there!

Mining is a global industry! Jobs and internships are available worldwide, offering cultural immersion, intersection, and growth. Many mine sites are in geographically stunning places, while other jobs allow you to work from the comfort of a city. Your career in the industry is flexible, with employment opportunities in nearly every county on earth.

Work on unique projects

Mine Engineer working Underground

Whether it is designing the world's largest earth moving machines, creating a 3D model of gold hundreds of feet underground, researching new microogranisms that can extract metals from ore, or inventing new technological devices to predict slope failures, mining engineers work on some of the most interesting projects! Mining Engineers can undertake countless job opportunities including manufacturing, planning, design, management, operations, marketing, and many more.

The Daily Grind

Day-to-day activities will vary depending on what type of material or ore is being extracted and studied. Different tools and methods are used and it is up to mining engineers to find or improve methods to be more resourceful and productive. Listed below are a variety of daily tasks from different industry perspectives.

  • test and analyze soil to look for mineral presence
  • read and interpret topographic maps to determine the position of possible mineral deposits
  • inspect and oversee mining operations
  • ensure all safety measures and procedures are being followed
  • document and report all mining activities and minerals extracted
  • plan and manage reclamation processes
  • analyze and graph rock stability to ensure safety
  • design and operate large machines such as haul trucks, drills, and more
 

WORK IN

Tucson has been described as the Silicon Valley of the mining industry. Mining is at the core of the state's and University's history. This is due to the massive amount of copper deposits in the Southern Arizona area. The mining industry is constantly growing and evolving to improve profit, safety, and efficiency. There are many international companies present in Tucson and the surrounding area, along with many local businesses rising to meet the demand for consultants, tech, and more. Mining drives business in the Southwest, and UArizona is right in the heart of it. Below is a list of both international and local businesses in the mining industry surrounding Tucson.

 

Company & Focus area Job Opportunities recommended track

ASARCO

ASARCO Grupo Mexico is a world-wide copper producer. They extract, process, and sell copper from different porphyry deposits across North and South America. 

Mine engineer: produce monthly reports maximizing efficiency and productivity while acknowledging all constraints, optimize short-term haulage profiles, and coordinate any changes in systems or scheduling 

Tailings Operation Manager: ensure safety, stability, and proper management of tailings storage, develop and implement standards for tailing storage facility design, construction, operation, and closure

Mine Operations

 

 

Geomechanics

Call & Nicholas

Call & Nicholas is a consulting firm that works with both open-pit and underground mines. They assist in mine planning, drill program planning, pit dewatering, and geologic modeling.

Underground Rock Mechanics Engineer: perform rock mechanics stability analysis, design ground support systems for hard rock mines, some field work including rock characterization.

Geologist: field work including site characterization, geologic mapping, and geomechanical core analysis, technical reporting and documentation.

Geomechanics

 

 

Geomechanics

 

Canary Systems

Canary Systems provides reliable, state-of-the-art data collection and information systems. This includes instrumentation selection, system architecture, hardware and software development, database development and web online data access systems.

Database Engineer: integrate and process various geotechnical data sources, configure methods for correlating and understanding data outputs, manage automated reports for various geotechnical sites Any track + experience in coding

Caterpillar

Caterpillar (CAT) has been a leading producer in construction and mining equipment since 1925. They design and produce large-scale machinery, and have been one of the driving companies in the field of automation.

Engineering Specialist: create, maintain, and advise production details and assembly, provide communication, support, and troubleshooting, draw and model details per customer request.

Commercial Sales Representative (Mines): review industry trends and outlook, recommend equipment to and support mine managers when placing orders, analyze factors of customer loyalty and drivers of satisfaction among customers.

Any track

 

Mine Operations + business experience

Epiroc

Epiroc provides mining companies around the world with different tools to efficiently extract the ore they need. From drills to trucks to conveyor belts, Epiroc caters to the needs of the industry, even helping to build autonomous fleets.

Product Specialist: implement and develop e-tools, support the sales team and communicate about improvements and rising needs, define product mix for each sale, maintain close communication with companies about their need.

Field Technician: troubleshoot drills and other equipment in person or over the phone, provide parts information and installation, provide warranty support by examining claims, communicating with site operators, and submitting service requests

Mine operations + business experience

 

Any track

Freeport McMoRan

Freeport McMoRan is an international company operating projects for different desirable metals. In Arizona and Tucson in particular, Freeport mines copper porphyry deposits. Worldwide, they also mine silver, gold, and molybdenum.

Metallurgist: assist in metallurgical testing and analyses of designs, review and recommend new metallurgical equipment and processes, provide guidance and council to sites to ensure proper extraction and economic viability

Slope Stability Technician: assist in the layout and design of routine engineering projects, perform surveys as a part of a GPS crew, analyze and document the geologic profile of the study area.

Mineral Processing

 

 

Geomechanics

Golder

Golder is an independent consulting firm that helps provide expertise, insight, and design in mining, oil, and environmental projects. Their projects vary greatly from tunneling to design to water and waste management.

Engineering Geologist: carry out tasks and assignments under senior geologists and geotechnical engineers, prepare geotechnical reports and undertake field assignments, conduct high quality characterization of materials

Reclamation Site Supervisor: develop and implement reclamation plans for former mines, supervise and manage surface reclamation processes, ensure sites are contoured to match the surrounding landscape, work with a variety of specialists in an interdisciplinary environment

Geomechanics

 

 

Sustainable Resource Development

Granite Construction

Granite Construction is an infrastructure company that provides a wide variety of services, but most notably in Tucson they assist in the construction and maintenance of mine sites. Granite provides crushing, leach pads, roads and airfields as well as foundations, reclamation, water management, industrial rail and power services to mines.

Environmental Manager: obtain all environmental permits necessary to operate a quarry or other site, identify and monitor environmentally significant factors, coordinate with environmental engineers to develop solutions for risks and comply with legal standards

Inliner Project Manager: provide direct support for field crews installing cured in-place liners for projects, act as the primary contact for both the customer and any contracting crews, formulate project estimates and designs while adhering to legal and social constraints

Sustainable Resource Development

 

Sustainable Resource Development, Mine Operations

Hexagon

Hexagon provides mine design software, as well as offering training, consulting, and implementation for mining companies. Their systems are used to not only plan the physical design of the mine, but also offer safety, operations, and surveying software.

Digital Reality Technician: scan and map given areas using LIDAR and GPS technology, construct 3D models of desirable areas for safe, detailed analysis, update and maintain geologic models of desirable areas

Automation Engineer: draw, plan, and engineer automated technology to meet industry needs, provide direct support during installation and training for operation, update and expand design capabilities to generate more revenue

Geomechanics + Electrical  & Computer Engineering Minor

Mine Operations + Mechanical Engineering Minor

Independent Mining Consultants Inc.

As a consulting company, IMC is called upon by customers for another opinion or expert advice. There are opportunities for consulting with IMC  in mine planning, mine evaluation, contract engineering,  mining feasibility studies, exploration development, and resource modeling.

Mine consultant: collaborate with a variety of companies and people to provide accurate and reliable information analysis and solutions, provide geotechnical analysis for sites,  Geomechanics

Komatsu

Komatsu is one of the world’s leading manufactures and suppliers of earth-moving equipment. They serve the mining, construction, forestry, and forklift industries, providing equipment for all needs in all sizes.

Automation Engineer: assist in hardware selection, programming, and testing of systems, transform functional concepts into technical designs with a focus on the customer, create user-friendly systems and improve current systems.

Supplier Quality Engineer: assist in the management of large component projects that have been outsourced, verify and measurably improve the quality of subcontracted material and components, plan and direct activities concerned with development, application, and maintenance of quality standards

Any + Mechanical Engineer Minor

 

Any + Industrial Engineering Minor

L&H Industrial

 L&H Industrial offers many processing products for the mining field as well as entirely integrated automated design, reducing worker risk and improving efficiency. They provide 24/7 service to their machinery, while also offering custom designs and engineering solutions.

   

M3 Engineering

M3 offers a variety of services, primarily focusing on architecture, engineering, and construction management. For mining companies, M3 offers solutions in sustainability, mineral processing, piping, instrumentation, and systemization.

Structural Engineer: perform structural analysis and design for large geotechnical projects, work on a variety of projects from infrastructure to mine sites, assist in investigations, studies, and estimations

Project Engineer: design and manage multi-disciplinary projects, determine equipment layout and communicate with vendors, prepare schedules, monitor and coordinate with different teams on multiple engineering projects.

Geomechanics

 

 

Mine Operations

Modular Mining

 Modular Mining produces innovative software and hardware for use in industry. They picked up a smaller company, called Mintec, known for their mine design software. Modular Mining has also created major management solutions to help in automation, efficiency, and safety.

Autonomous Haulage System Engineer: help install and maintain autonomous software in integration with the customer’s equipment, ensure proper functionality and installation.

Software Engineer: produce high quality tested code, run estimations and analytics to help update current software, provide technical oversight to the development teams.

Mine Operations

 

 Mine Operations + Electrical & Computer Engineering Minor

South 32

 South 32 is a global mining company with mines in Africa, North America, South America, and Australia. South 32 predominantly mines and processes zinc here in southern Arizona.

Technology Specialist: ensure proper excavation, provide specialist advice about equipment recommendations, plan and negotiate with suppliers, address performance issues and handle any escalations.

Sustainability Supervisor: communicate with local communities about concerns regarding nearby mining activities, plan and advise mine waste storage and disposal, monitor and examine changes in the local environment due to mining activity.

Mine Operations

 

 

Sustainable Resource Development

Split Engineering

Split Engineering was acquired by Hexagon Mining, but is still recognized as its own entity while a part of the Hexagon family. Split provides monitoring software and hardware to ensure proper fragmentation of blasted rock before moving to later stages of processing.

   

SRK Consulting

 SRK provides consulting for mining companies for all stages of a mine’s life, from exploration to reclamation. Their services cover rock stability, underground and open-pit design, waste engineering, water management, and much more.

Geotechnical (Tailings) Engineer: perform stability analysis of mine extraction sequences, plan and manage closure operations, perform risk evaluations, provide tailings planning for businesses in various locations.

Rock Mechanics Engineer: apply rock mechanics principles to slope stability, ground support, and ground control, perform rock mass characterization, deliver quality solutions by a given deadline.

Geomechanics

 

 

Geomechanics

Stantec

Focus area: Stantec is an independent consulting company that communicates with companies and local communities to provide the most effective solutions for both today and far into the future. They offer geotechnical and materials testing services as well as sustainability planning and geomatics.

   

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