When mining is depicted in the media, we usually only see the hardhat worker, pick axe in hand, lowering down into a bleak, black shaft to chip away at some rock—and you might think of them uncovering some glowing patch of diamond or gold just a couple nicks in.
In fact, mining is a slow process with much more intermittent rewards, and there are a wide variety of mining jobs that come before and after the extraction phase, many of which require a very special set of skills.
Much like those organizing construction projects, companies looking to employ miners can benefit greatly from contacting a staffing firm, since the work involved in a mining project can be sporadic and unpredictable, yet also requires expertise that you’ll be hard-pressed to find via a last-minute recruitment search.
There are literally a dozen major types of mining jobs, each comprised of several different roles. We’ll attempt to break down about half of the major categories as succinctly as possible.
1. Engineering Jobs
Mining engineering jobs include a few different roles—most commonly, mining engineer, planning engineer, and project engineer (engineer in training). The people involved in this sector often work on designing the mines and mining equipment, both on-site and from an office, employing complex engineering principles, calculations, and theory to find the most efficient, effective ways to deliver what the client is seeking.
2. Construction Jobs
Mine construction jobs include a construction manager, project manager, project control, project coordinator, estimator, and planner/scheduler. This type of mining job is a more hands-on, practical application of the above-mentioned engineering jobs. Part of the broader “mine development” umbrella of jobs, mine construction is the process of clearing the area, breaking through rock, and putting together scaffolding and other infrastructure to get into the extraction/excavation process.
3. Exploration Jobs
Mining exploration jobs include vice president, geologist, geo-technician, and hydrogeologist. This type of mining job, one of the first to be done in a given project, involves finding the right place to mine. Much like other resources found in the ground (including oil), valuable minerals are found more in some places than others.
Mining exploration entails first gathering information on an area as a means to figure out which parts should be further explored; next, explorers have to legally secure the rights to mine the area; then, scientific procedures are performed to confirm that parts of the area are indeed rich in the minerals sought; if so, these explorers will work to see if it’s economically and environmentally feasible to go forward with a mining project, bridging the gap to the preceding engineering and construction jobs described.
4. Operations Jobs
Mining operations jobs include vice president, general manager, mine manager, chief mining engineer, and manager of technical service. These roles, less science-based and more work-based, involve planning and structuring to make a mining project work both in the short- and long-term. That includes monitoring working conditions (air quality is a major component of mining), maintaining waste material, and looking after necessary services, including labs and offices.
5. Metallurgist/Process Jobs
This type of job includes vice president, manager, engineer, superintendent, general foreman foreman, lab supervisors, and lab technicians. Metallurgists, as their name suggests, work with metals; and while the occupation is ancient, its modern form typically involves separating the waste from the valuables in mined deposits. Mining produces a lot of weighty excess, and the processing jobs here, done after a particular excavation, help to refine what’s been found into its most valuable, useful form.
6. Human Resources Jobs
Human resources jobs include vice president, manager, recruiter, coordinator, and training coordinator. Like any industry, HR in mining is responsible for overarching aspects of employment (such as labour laws), although if you’re a client working via a staffing firm to recruit a mining team, HR’s typical recruitment and dismissal roles won’t need to come into play.