In addition to design and development many mining and geological engineers work in production, maintenance and testing. They may need to observe factory production, determine why products fail or test products for quality. At the supervisory level mining and geological engineers oversee entire projects or major components.
Computers are a must for mining and geological engineers. They use them to produce and analyze designs, simulate tests, generate specifications, monitor quality and control efficiency. Another new aspect of the design process for mining and geological engineers is nanotechnology.
Mining and geological engineers find, extract and prepare minerals, metals and coal for use by utilities and manufacturing industries. They may supervise the construction of underground mine operations, design open-pit and underground mines and create ways to transport minerals to processing plants. They’re responsible for ensuring the operation of mines is safe, economical and environmentally sound. Some mining and geological engineers work alongside metallurgical engineers and geologists to find and appraise new ore deposits. Some mining and geological engineers direct mineral-processing operations to extract dirt, rock and other materials from valuable minerals. Others develop new mining equipment. Often mining and geological engineers specialize in a particular metal such as gold or coal. As protecting the environment becomes more of a priority, mining and geological engineers must work to solve problems related to water, air pollution and land reclamation. They use their knowledge of mine practices and design to comply with safety regulations and ensure worker safety. They must monitor air quality, examine equipment for safety compliance and inspect surfaces of walls and roofs. Most mining and geological engineers work in laboratories, plants or offices, though they may also spend time at mine sites to direct and monitor operations and solve onsite problems. Some must travel to worksites.
A 40-hour workweek is common for mining and geological engineers. However, longer hours often occur when deadlines must be met.