Mining & Quarrying
Geologists and engineers are employed in the search for and production of mineral resources. Mineral Exploration, mining and industrial minerals companies employ geologists, geophysicists and engineers. Mining and exploration consultancy companies also employ a similar set of geologists and engineers.
Mining and minerals exploration usually refers to operations that search for and extract minerals that can be processed to produce metals such as iron, copper, gold and zinc in addition to other essential elements such as phosphorus (used in fertilisers). Industrial minerals companies also explore for and extract minerals that are used in their largely unprocessed form. This includes resources extracted by quarrying including aggregates (sand and gravel), slate and limestone and those extracted by more complex mining methods such as clays and gypsum.
Roles & Career Profiles
The types of roles geoscientists may undertake in a mining and minerals company or consultancy include:
Resource or Economic Geologist
Exploration GeologistRead career profile
Exploration ManagerRead career profile
Exploration GeophysicistRead career profile
Vice President, GeosciencesRead career profile
Remote Sensing GeologistRead career profile
Geoscience AreasThese roles require a diverse set of geological knowledge and skills.
Some of the areas of geology that those in the mining and minerals industry utilise include:
- Structural geology
- Petrology & Mineralogy
- Geophysical interpretation
- Remote sensing / Geographical Information Systems
How to get ahead
- Ensure your degree and/or modules are tailored towards the sector
- Work experience during your degree is extremely useful and this will let employers know you have a basic knowledge and understanding of how mining/exploration works, not just the geological aspects.
- Postgraduate Masters degrees are generally advised, and PhD study is also a possible route into to a role in industry, particularly if it is at least partially industry-funded.
- Modern languages. This is the sector that will have most use for them. Mining and exploration still requires geologists with their noses on the rocks in remote parts of the world. Languages such as Spanish (Latin America), French (Africa & parts of Canada) and Russian (much of northern and central Asia) are extremely useful. If you speak more than one of them, so much the better!