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Mining and Mineral Engineering

Program Description

Just the Facts

Mining and Mineral Engineering. A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of mineral extraction, processing and refining systems, including open pit and shaft mines, prospecting and site analysis equipment and instruments, environmental and safety systems, mine equipment and facilities, mineral processing and refining methods and systems, and logistics and communications systems.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

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Additional Information

Many of the things we use are made from materials that come from the ground. That includes everything from the gas in our cars to the rings on our fingers. But do you ever think of how we get those materials out of the ground? Mining engineering students learn the latest techniques.

Students take courses in things like soils and foundations, surface mining, mining engineering analysis, mineral economics, and mine ventilation and environment control.

Most engineering programs include a co-op component. That's when students complete work terms in the industry. It offers you the opportunity to gain experience and earn money. But it also lengthens your time in the program.

The co-op bachelor of engineering program usually takes about five years to complete, says Georges J. Kipouros. He is the head of mining and metallurgical engineering at a university.

"The program instills work ethics through co-op education, responsibility and accountability and technical competence," Kipouros says.

The program also tries to help students develop an analytical attitude, as well as teamwork and communication skills.

"Our students receive the typical basic knowledge in math, science, mechanics and thermodynamics, as do all engineers," says mining engineering professor Allen Hall. "In addition, our students learn about the strength of rock in order to construct mines that are safe and secure."

Greg Adel is a professor of mining and minerals engineering at Virginia Tech. He says the skills students learn include:

  • Planning the mining operation to maximize the recovery of ore
  • Properly ventilating underground mines to prevent dust and explosive gases from building up
  • Designing belt haulage systems and pumping systems
  • Processing ores to separate the valuable minerals from the waste materials
  • Managing mining operations

"Finally, they learn how to reclaim the mining area in order to protect the environment when mining is completed," Adel says.

Get a good background in math and science. Kipouros recommends that high school students study math, physics and geology.

Hall says students should be willing to travel and to work in remote locations. He adds that courses in language, geology and chemicals would also be helpful.

The main costs are tuition and books.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers

Mining Library
Explore the publications, videos, and many links this site offers

Pit and Quarry Magazine
Serving the non-metallic mining industry


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