Mining is one industry that continues to need people even if business growth has gone from its rapid pace to moderate. The trend is nothing surprising, anyway, since it's come from a global price boom that enticed companies to invest in new mining operations and even expand some old ones.
The competition caused a bit of a decline in prices and a lot more challenges in production and business management. But that's for the companies. For those of you who are seeking a career in this field, you need to know that some qualifications have changed, perhaps from the time that you've dreamt of being a miner. Technology and the demand for contribution to environmental causes are the factors that have greatly affected the change and continue to do so.
The basic skills and knowledge required for someone who wants to be involved in mining are common to other engineering jobs. You must be good in math, science, and general engineering courses to get a degree or other required studies, in the first place.
Many opt to get a 4-year bachelor's degree in mining or geological engineering. But for the others who'd want to concentrate on the technical and practical part of the work, they go for a certificate course where they get 2 years or 4 years of technology lessons and training. The latter choice, however, often makes the worker limited to technician posts.
Mining companies now depend on automation and computers for chief parts of their operations. This is why you need to be proficient in certain computer programs, or at least a fast learner when it comes to using computers. Skills in nanotechnology, where you manipulate matter in the molecular level, have also become an advantage in this business.
Attitude and Attributes
Mining jobs vary depending on the specific nature of business of the company, the location, and the particular assignment. You may be tasked to discover and prepare coal and minerals for a manufacturing company. You may also need to oversee complete underground operations and make sure that everything and everyone is safe in all aspects. Or you may have the big task of designing the whole mining area.
This is why the following qualities are non-negotiable for miners:
- Responsible - The hazards of mining are real. Zero tolerance is needed when it comes to design, safety, and all other aspects of the job. You have to be responsible for all your actions, careful in not endangering the business, the environment, your team, and yourself.
- Health-conscious - You need to be in top physical and mental condition to be accepted in any mining job. And you need to keep yourself healthy, ready for the dangers the mining environment is associated with.
- Team player - You can never thinking exclusively of yourself in this business. You depend on the other members of your team, just as they depend on you. Having a divisive or individualistic mindset heightens the dangers of the job.
- Hard-worker - You will work long hours whichever company you get into. So you need to be prepared for really hard work.
- Detail-oriented - Being meticulous is an advantage in a mining career especially when it comes to safety measures and environmental advocacy requirements.
- Ready for relocating - You can only find mining sites in selected areas of certain countries, so you need to be prepared to go where the job site is and where the next project will be. Australia, Russia, and South Africa are the top mining countries in the world. If you're planning to make it big in the industry, you might want to prepare yourself to setting foot on any of these locations.
By the way, the information here is for both men and women. In case you haven't heard, the number of women in mining are rising - and they're doing brilliantly.
That's one more thing you need to keep in mind about this industry. If you want a career here, you need keep yourself informed about the latest in and around the field, too. It's a must to keep pace with the latest progress in technology, environmental management, and other significant matters of the business.
Howard Smith is a corporate consultant, focusing on finance and administration. He has extensive experience in the oil and mining industries and now contributes mining industry news, conference information, and insights.