Mining Engineer

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Larry Turner

Tell us about your work---what do you do? I am a mine manager in Nevada. I am responsible for all mining operations in the pit , as well as all the health and safety issues. Essentially, I am running all aspects of the mining operation. What skills are needed? Mainly, management skills and people skills are the most important. Ninety percent of your work is dealing with people-related issues: hiring and firing , contacting suppliers and vendors , etc. You also have to have math skills, mainly on the financial side of things. You do need basic engineering skills to know what's going on in the pit, also you have to have good knowledge about the equipment and equipment maintenance. Knowledge of all the federal, state, and local regulations is also important. What was your major? Mining engineering How did you get started in your career? Upon graduation, I had a four-year commitment with military where I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers . After that I interviewed using the school's alumni placement program to land my first job. What experience do you need in this job? You generally need to have worked up through engineering positions at a company. You start as a mining engineer, and then move up to chief engineer, then mine superintendent, and eventually you can manage the whole operation. Describe your "typical" workday: It changes day to day. Generally, I work eight-ten hour days five-six days per week. I take a look at what happened the night before when I was gone, than I have a morning meeting with the staff. I keep track of what's happening in the pit, what's going on with the maintenance. There is also some paper work, reports to corporate, financial reports, things like that. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The aspects of dealing with people on a day-to-day basis. Mining people are a pretty independent crowd, so you have to be able to work with those types of people. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Getting the job accomplished safely and within budget. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? I say at the high school level, take all the math and science courses you can. At the college level, you have to commit early, there are only a few colleges in the world that teach mining engineering. You have to make a commitment to study hard and learn everything you can. If you don't like math and science, I wouldn't recommend this field. You also have to be able to move around a lot. Most advancement is gained by moving to another company.