Register | Login

Minerals Surveyor

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Minerals Surveyor

The Work

Minerals surveyors look into whether a potential mining, quarrying or landfill site can be commercially exploited. If it can, they manage the site, value its assets and deal with ownership rights.

As a minerals surveyor, your duties would include:

  • carrying out initial surveys and environmental impact assessments on potential sites to assess whether plans are workable
  • researching land and tax records to establish site ownership and access
  • preparing planning applications, valuing deposits and negotiating contracts to buy or lease sites
  • charting surface areas with global positioning systems (GPS); and building accurate 3-D site models, using digital imaging, laser technology and computer-aided design software
  • interpreting rock sample data
  • producing site maps, including mine structures and deposit layers, using geographic information systems (GIS); and updating maps during a mine's development
  • investigating rock structures and ground movements to spot potential hazards and instability, and to carry out risk assessments (known as geomechanics).

Once a site is exhausted, you would work closely with mining engineers, development surveyors and planners to work out the best way to restore the land. This could mean trying to recreate the original habitat or turning over the area to leisure, industry or commercial use. It could also involve decontaminating affected areas before restoration.


Hours and Environment

You would usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. Early starts, late finishes and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines.

Your duties would be split between the office and on site. Overnight stays away from home may be necessary, depending on the site's location.

Surface sites could be noisy, dusty and dirty. If you are working underground, conditions may be damp and cramped. You would use protective clothing and equipment when on site.

Skills and Interests

  • an excellent knowledge of geology
  • familiarity with surveying technology and CAD programs
  • excellent maths, science and IT skills, particularly databases
  • strong analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving
  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to analyse and interpret graphical data
  • strong communication, negotiating and presentation skills
  • the ability to prioritise and plan effectively
  • a willingness to keep up to date with new developments
  • the ability to work as part of a team.


You normally need a degree or professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to work as a minerals surveyor.

Relevant degree subjects include:

  • minerals surveying
  • mining engineering
  • surveying
  • civil engineering
  • geomatics.

You can search for accredited qualifications on the dedicated RICS Courses website.

If you have a non-accredited degree, you will need to take an accredited postgraduate qualification in surveying. You can do this through a employer's graduate traineeship or through full-time study. You could also take a distance learning postgraduate conversion course with the College of Estate Management (CEM). See the CEM website for details.

With a BTEC HNC/HND or foundation degree in surveying, you may be able to work as a surveying technician whilst taking further study to fully qualify.

You are likely to need a driving licence to travel to sites.

You can find more information about careers and qualifications through the RICS website.


You should continue to update your knowledge and skills throughout your career. You would normally do this by working towards chartered status with the RICS or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Faculty for Architecture and Surveying.

To qualify for chartered status through the RICS, you must complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) while you are working. You need at least two years' experience and will have to attend an interview with a panel of assessors.

If you want to apply for CIOB chartered status, you will need an accredited honours degree and two years' relevant work experience.

If you want to specialise in waste management and environmental engineering, contact the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) for a range of training courses in these fields.


Typical employers include private coal mining and quarrying companies, mineral estate owners, HM Customs and Revenue’s Mineral Valuations Office and local authorities. You may also find opportunities overseas.

National and European directives covering waste/pollution management and recycling may increase opportunities. You may also find openings in related branches of surveying such as land surveying, or planning and development.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in a new window):

RICS Recruit
Hays Recruitment
Minerals UK (British Geological Survey site)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be between £20,000 and £25,000 a year.
  • Experienced surveyors can earn between £26,000 and £40,000.
  • Chartered minerals surveyors can earn over £50,000 a year.

Salaries for minerals surveyors working overseas tend to be higher on average than the above figures.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


Email Address



Submit CV