When thinking of mining jobs within the mining industry, many people think of the traditional miners – pickaxes, hard-hats, taking a lift down to a mine shaft, hours of hard toil in dark tunnels to mine coal and gold. However, nowadays, due to technological advancements and adapting to societal changes, the modern mining industry has so much more to offer. As a result, a wide variety of essential senior mining jobs and career paths are available within the industry.
The rise of the digital age and the change in societal needs and attitudes have forced industries to reflect on their current practices and make changes to ensure their future survival, growth, and productivity. The mining industry is no different, and two significant focuses have been technological advancements and increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These focuses are instrumental to the growth of the industry and its reputation of being a welcoming and inclusive employer.
The mining industry has seen an incredible rise in technological advancements, from automated vehicles to drones to using Artificial Intelligence in mine planning software and mineral exploration. This technology is used to swiftly and safely locate and source materials from gold to copper, battery metals, and potash. As a result, technological advances have saved mining companies time and reduced costs while simultaneously increasing productivity and safety within the mines.
Mining companies are employing technology-focused senior roles such as mining planning engineers, machine learning engineers, geologists, and project managers to maximise the productivity of this technology.
When many of us reflect on the industry historically, we consider it as very male-dominated. This attitude has, in years gone by, been true. However, things are changing. Over recent years the mining industry has focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have recently explored diversity in our blog Digging Deeper: How Diverse is Mining Today?
Market Intelligence found in 2019 that companies with a female CEO saw a 20% increase in stock price momentum from a financial point of view. In addition, companies with a female CFO saw a 6% increase in profitability. Diversity and inclusion increase the industry’s profitability but also bring in different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds which can help mining face the challenges of the digital age and climate change. Diversity and inclusion are the future of mining, and people of all backgrounds should consider mining as an exciting career path to follow.
Here are five of the most searched jobs in the mining industry. We will explore what these roles consist of, what qualifications and skills you need, and what potential career paths are available.
1. Mining engineer
Mining Engineers are responsible for assessing potential mine locations’ safety, feasibility and productivity. Once the site is confirmed, the engineer will then develop the design of the mines, which includes the development of the underground and shafts. They will also be part of designing the mining equipment, ensuring that materials such as gold and copper are extracted efficiently and safely. As part of the design process, they must ensure that budgets, client guidelines, and safety regulations are met. Once the mine has been fully developed, the engineer will continue to test its efficiency through data analysis and make changes where necessary.
Required qualifications and skills – Mining Engineers are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following subjects
If you possess a degree not specialised in mining, you can improve your chances of becoming an engineer by studying for a postgraduate qualification in mining engineering.
Mining Engineering is a job that opens the door to working internationally. If working abroad is your ambition, you must ensure your degree is recognised in the country where you would like to work.
Regarding skills, mining engineers are expected to be organised and efficient in their work. They are expected to be able to problem-solve and have high analytical skills. In addition, engineers should be able to work independently and as part of a team.
Career prospects – The usual career path for engineers is as follows:
If career progression is essential to you, it is worth checking with a potential mining employer what career development programmes are in place and what opportunities there are for promotion.
2. Technical services manager
A technical services manager is responsible for leading the technical services team. They lead senior engineers and geologists in developing mining projects to ensure they are completed and within guidelines. In addition, they focus on planning, budgeting, cost control, administration of contracts, and the production and construction of a project. They are also responsible for team development and mentoring to ensure employees adhere to safety and environmental regulations, positive management practices, and company policy and procedure.
Required qualifications and skills – Technical Services Managers are required to possess a bachelor’s degree in a mining-related field, for example:
Due to the importance of the role, many employers will ask for extensive experience of working in mines and proven experience as a technical manager in a similar position. In addition, as mining has become more technologically advanced, the role also requires extensive knowledge of mining systems such as Mine24 and AutoCad.
Career prospects – Technical Services Managers can land positions in mines worldwide, from Africa to Central America to Australia. The great thing about this role is the variety of career paths you can take within the mining industry. Jobs that technical services managers have progressed to include:
3. Vice president of exploration.
A Vice President of Exploration is a crucial senior management team member and is responsible for leading and planning the company’s technical, exploration, and geology activities. They must ensure that when identifying exploration opportunities are consistent with the corporate strategic plan. The vice president will assist with the acquisition negotiations and contracts when an opportunity has been placed. In addition, they will contribute to developing the corporate strategic plan to achieve the company’s exploration goals. They will regularly liaise with outside consultants and business partners as part of their planning.
Required qualifications and skills – Most employers would expect you already be a professional Geologist, a role in which you would need a bachelor’s degree in Geology. Candidates for the Vice President of Exploration role would also need extensive experience as either an exploration manager or already be in the same position in a similar precious metals background. The candidate would also need strong communication skills and be able to build and maintain business partnerships with contractors, governments, and local communities. They would also have to be able to contribute and lead presentations to investors and potential investors. Vice Presidents would also need strong leadership, management, and organisational skills.
Career prospects – Vice Presidents of Exploration have the potential to land jobs worldwide, including in North America, Europe, and Africa. Potential career paths include becoming a Head of Geology or Head/President of Exploration.
4. Mine geologists
A Mine Geologist’s central role is to locate new mineral resources for mining projects. Using tools such as field maps, aerial photographs, and geophysical surveys, they discover where valuable materials are and what quantities are available in that area. They assess and analyse geological data to advise on short-term and long-term mining projects in areas such as the lifespan of the venture, how profitable it will likely be, and health and safety. They are also responsible for assessing the environmental impact of extracting minerals on the land and the people living on it.
Required qualifications and skills – Geologists are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following subjects
It is also becoming more common for potential or new Geologists to hold or be working towards a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters or PhD. These further qualifications will increase your chances of landing a position as it shows an employer a more advanced level of knowledge. Geologists also should possess analytical thinking skills, excellent communication skills, and a detailed understanding of computer systems and software.
Career prospects – With extensive Geologist experience (many employers ask for three years+), you can progress to a Senior Geologist or a consultant position. Another avenue that you can explore is teaching Geology within colleges and universities so you can help train the next generation of Geologists.
5. Project manager
Project managers are responsible for the planning, procurement, executing, and completion of a mining project. This includes developing construction schedules, managing budgets, liaising with clients to ensure requirements are met, and ensuring health and safety procedures are followed on sites. In addition, they liaise with maintenance, engineering, operations, and external contractors in developing a mining project. It is a role that offers the challenge of balancing engineering abilities with leadership skills. Project managers should also possess strong communication, negotiation, and decision-making skills.
Required qualifications and skills – Project managers must hold a Bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, engineering, or a related technical field. Many organisations may ask for previous project management experience, including project accounting, contracts, budgeting, and procurement. It is a job with opportunities to work worldwide, so a willingness to relocate and language skills are also an advantage.
Career prospects – The next step up from project manager is a senior project manager. To progress to this role, companies usually ask for extensive experience in project management (the number of years depends on the hiring company), exceptional leadership skills, strong stakeholder management, and knowledge of using data and metrics to drive improvements.
The mining industry has undergone considerable changes recently and is preparing for a productive and sustainable future. Technological advancements have been key to this future due to the challenges created by the digital age and climate change. The mining industry needs talented and highly-skilled leaders to guide the industry and drive future growth.
The focus on increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace has meant the doors for senior positions are open to people from different backgrounds and cultures. Be part of a critical, exciting, and ever-involving industry and become a future mining leader.
As one of the leading mining recruiters, CSG are focused on building and maintaining strong relationships with our clients and candidates in the mining industry. We have developed a network of experts who provide insights into the latest developments and market insights. These insights enable us to guide, advise and support our clients with their talent strategy and to help their businesses grow. We work closely with our candidates to find their motivations and needs, connecting them with suitable clients. We also work with our clients to ensure that the candidate experience is seamless and effective and meets the expectations of all parties involved. We also embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace and ensure our candidates and interview process reflect our values.
(This article first appeared on CSG Talent’s blog)