Mining Engineering: A Rewarding And Interesting Career
Mining engineering is a field that began thousands of years ago when Paleolithic humans mined hematite to produce the red pigment ochre. The ancient Romans were innovators in the field being the first to use water power, fire, thermal shocks and hydraulics in their copper mines.
Black powder explosives were first used in the early 1600s at the mines belonging to the Kingdom of Hungary in present-day Slovakia. The use of explosives made it easier to loosen rock and dirt to get at the ore vein.
With the Industrial Revolution of the mid 1700s came the use of improved explosives and steam power. The internal combustion engine brought about additional changes in the industry allowing machinery to do much of the back-breaking work originally done by miners.
In recent years, the main focus has been on the improvement of mine safety. Mine safety is one of the engineer`s main priorities.
Consultation with the engineer is necessary in virtually every stage of the mine operation from the geologist-aided discovery of minerals to the selection of the correct explosives and the construction of the actual mine. Engineers are involved in drilling core samples and determining the safest and most cost-effective way to retrieve the desirable minerals.
Some engineers are involved in the design and development of new equipment. Today`s engineers have begun to focus on developing equipment and techniques that are more environmentally friendly than those used in the past.
Engineers of all kinds need a strong background in maths and science. Typically, the first two years of study are the same for all engineer types. By the beginning of the third year, the student will have chosen a field of focus and classes related specifically to mining engineering will be on the schedule.
Geology, mine design, mine operation, environmental reclamation and metallurgy are among the specific subjects that will be studied. A bachelor`s degree is needed for all jobs. Research positions often require a doctorate or master`s degree. State certification may also be necessary for engineers who work in the public sector.
Overall, mining engineering is an interesting and rewarding career choice. The number of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 10% over the next ten years.