Mining Engineering and working in SA’s Mining industry
Mining jobs offer plenty of exciting career opportunities, mining engineering being a more specialised field within mining itself. South Africa is rich in minerals which contributes to the availability of mining engineering jobs. To learn more about this career, read our informative blog.
Mining and Mining Companies in South Africa
Mining companies in South Africa include Anglo American, Kumba Iron Ore and Impala Platinum. Goldfields is another company which has operations in South Africa.
Large mining operations in South Africa first began in 1887 when diamonds were found near the Orange River. Since then mining in South Africa has developed rapidly. South Africa is one of the top countries for gold mining as well as chrome, platinum and vermiculite mining.
Other minerals found in South Africa include manganese and rutile. Coal and Iron Ore are exported from the country.
Exploring the job of a Mining Engineer
A mining engineer is responsible for planning and managing the process of extracting minerals from the ground. Mining involves the extraction of coal as well as metallic ores. Non-metallic minerals as well as stone and gravel are also mined. While mining engineers can oversee the extraction of a wide range of minerals this position excludes the extraction of petroleum.
Mining engineers are responsible for carrying out research in a laboratory with the aim of discovering the steps involved in the manufacturing of new products. Mining engineers are also tasked with testing processes in pilot studies before the launch of full scale manufacturing operations.
Another important duty of employees in these mining jobs is to find locations to extract minerals. Once the location has been determined, the mining engineer will need to plan the operations. An important part of the planning stage is to decide which methods to use as well as which machinery.
The layout and building of shafts as well as tunnels are also important considerations. Employees in this position are responsible for deciding where to drill and also need to establish an appropriate strategy for controlling the flow of the extracted substance.
Once the extraction has taken place they have to safely store the product. A vital part of this position involves implementing safety procedures and establishing access to on-site first-aid. Mining engineering involves communication with a range of specialists. Professionals consult with geologists as well as geophysicists.
Mining engineering jobs are regulated by the Engineering Council of South Africa. If you wish to use the term Professional Engineer, you will need to be registered with the ECSA. Registration takes place at the first phase of the internship when the title Candidate Engineer is used. Professional Engineers need to pay a registration fee every year. Continuous Professional Development is also a stipulation of the ECSA registration.
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Qualifications and Mining Engineering Courses
In order to become qualified you will need to complete Mining Engineering courses. A National Senior Certificate, which includes the subjects of Maths and Physical Science, is typically required to enter a Mining Engineering qualification.
It is advisable to check the entry requirements before applying as requirements vary according to the educational institute. To be eligible for these positions you will need to study a Bachelor of Mining Engineering. The University of Pretoria offers this qualification.
Another option is to complete a Bachelor of Mining Engineering through three years of workplace experience as a registered Candidate Engineer. Following a professional review you can become qualified in this role.
Mining jobs in this field can also be advertised as a colliery engineer, marine mining engineer or rock engineer positions and, as a mining engineer, you can choose to specialise in different areas. Options include research or the construction of mine shafts.
Other specialisation areas include surface or underground mining, and you can also focus on a type of material or on designing new equipment.
Is this the job for you?
These types of mining jobs may be suitable for you if you have outstanding Maths and Science capabilities. You will need to be observant and trustworthy to succeed in this role. A commitment to safety is also vital.
If you plan to study towards this career you will need to be interested in both mining and engineering. Excellent organisational skills are a necessity and you will also need to be a team player.
Mining engineers have an annual average income of R 423 502. Project Management skills increase the earning potential of professionals in this field. Experience also influences the income of mining engineers.