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Quarry Engineer

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

Quarry Engineer

The Work

Quarry engineers (also known as mining engineers) find the best way to extract raw materials from the ground, using blasting, drilling and excavation methods. They also work in the processing plants that refine raw materials, such as china clay, slate and stone (known as aggregates) for use in industries like construction.

Before a new mine or quarry is opened, your job as a quarry engineer would be to work with minerals surveyors to decide if mining plans are commercially workable. To do this, you would:

  • use ground-surveying techniques to chart the geological make-up of a site
  • drill earth and rock samples for lab testing
  • build up computer models of a site and its deposits
  • make recommendations to clients about how to proceed.

If mining goes ahead, you would:

  • manage the day-to-day running of operations
  • oversee technical staff
  • produce progress reports
  • monitoring health and safety
  • draw up plans to guard against emergencies like tunnel collapse or flooding.

An increasingly important part of the role is the environmental impact that a quarry or mine has on the surrounding area. As a result, you may have responsibility for making sure the site can be restored as closely as possible to its original state after the quarry workings come to an end.

Hours and Environment

You would work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines.

Your time would be split between the office and the quarry or mine. Conditions on site are likely to be dusty, dirty and cramped. You would wear protective clothing at all times on site.

Some contracts may involve you working away from home, possibly overseas, for weeks or months at a time.

Skills and Interests


  • strong analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving
  • an excellent knowledge of rocks and minerals
  • excellent maths, science and IT skills
  • a working knowledge of computer-aided design packages
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • the ability to prioritise and plan effectively
  • good budgeting skills
  • a willingness to keep up-to-date with new developments
  • good teamworking skills
  • a clear understanding of health and safety issues.

Entry

You normally become a quarry or mining engineer by completing a foundation degree, BTEC HND or degree. You can choose from a range of subjects, including:

  • minerals engineering
  • minerals surveying
  • mine and quarry engineering
  • geomatics
  • civil engineering.

Many job opportunities are overseas, so a willingness to relocate could be an important factor when looking for work.

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM 3), the Institute of Quarrying and Careers in Quarrying have more information about careers in this area, with details of training providers.

Training

Your employer would usually provide on-the-job training. If you have a degree, this could be in the form of a graduate apprenticeship scheme. On this type of scheme, you would work under supervision, learning all aspects of the job, gradually taking on more responsibility for projects.

Some employers may encourage you to work towards a postgraduate qualification. Courses include mining law in relation to health and safety, applied geotechnics, industrial rocks and minerals, mining engineering and mining geology. The IOM 3 and Institute of Quarrying have details of organisations offering postgraduate training.

You could help your career prospects by working towards incorporated or chartered status. To do this, you should register with your relevant industry body, then apply to the Engineering Council. See the Engineering Council website for more details.

As an incorporated engineer, you would specialise in the day-to-day management of engineering operations. At chartered level, you would have a more strategic role, planning, researching and developing new ideas, and streamlining management methods.

Opportunities

Typical employers include companies involved in minerals production, equipment supply, research and development, and consultancy. You could specialise in particular aspects of the job, for example explosives or health and safety or, with experience, become a project leader or operations manager.

Opportunities in the UK tend to centre around quarrying and underground construction projects like tunnels and waste storage facilities. Jobs specifically in mining engineering are more commonly found overseas, for example in Africa, Canada, South America and Australia.

With experience, you could move into related careers like civil, construction and environmental engineering.

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

Hunter Personnel
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 23,000 a year.
  • Experienced quarry engineers can earn between 25,000 and 35,000.
  • Quarry engineers with project or operational management jobs can earn over 40,000 a year.

Salaries with overseas companies can vary widely, depending on the nature of the project, the type of contract and quarry's location.

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.
 

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