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Minerals surveyor

Minerals surveyors look at the commercial potential of quarrying and mining sites, and restore sites once raw materials have been extracted.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a degree or professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Relevant subjects are:

  • civil engineering
  • geology
  • geomatics
  • mining engineering
  • surveying

If you’ve a non-accredited degree, you can also move into this career by completing:

  • a RICS accredited postgraduate course in surveying, through an employer's graduate traineeship or full-time study
  • a distance learning postgraduate conversion course with the University College of Estate Management
If you’ve an HNC, HND or foundation degree in surveying, you could work as a surveying technician while taking further study to fully qualify.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
  • 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

3. What you'll do

You’ll look at potential mining, quarrying or landfill sites to see if they can be used commercially.

If they can, you’ll manage the site, value the assets and deal with ownership rights.

Your day-to-day duties may  include:

  • carrying out surveys, environmental impact assessments and risk assessments
  • researching land and tax records to establish site ownership and access
  • preparing planning applications, valuing deposits and negotiating contracts
  • charting surface areas with global positioning systems (GPS), and building accurate 3-D site models, using digital imaging, laser technology and computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • interpreting rock sample data
  • producing site maps, including mine structures and deposit layers, using geographic information systems (GIS)
  • investigating rock structures and ground movements for potential hazards
Once a site is exhausted, you’ll work with mining engineers, development surveyors and planners to work out the best way to restore the land. This might be by recreating the original habitat or turning over the area to leisure, industry or commercial use. 

You’ll work for private coal mining and quarrying companies, mineral estate owners, the Valuation Office Agency and local authorities.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £26,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: over £50,000 (Chartered minerals surveyor)

Your salary may be higher if you work overseas.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

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

You’ll work in an office and on-site. 

Overnight stays may be necessary, depending on the site's location.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and further training, you could become a chartered minerals surveyor.

You could specialise in waste management, contaminated sites, or environmental engineering.

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Last updated: 07 December 2016