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Quarry engineer Mining engineer

Quarry engineers explore new sites, oversee operations and manage sites at the end of their commercial life.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, HND or degree in a relevant subject, like civil engineering, Earth sciences, geology, geophysics, minerals engineering, or mining engineering.

You may need to relocate as many job opportunities are overseas.

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and Careers in Quarrying have more information about becoming a quarry engineer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving 
  • excellent maths and science skills 
  • computer-aided design (CAD) and IT skills
  • excellent communication and presentation skills 
  • the ability to prioritise and plan effectively
  • budgeting skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll explore the best way to extract raw materials from the ground, using blasting, drilling and excavation methods. 

You might also work in processing plants that refine raw materials, like china clay, slate and stone (aggregates) for use in industries like construction.

Before a new mine or quarry is opened, you’ll work with minerals surveyors to decide if mining plans are commercially workable. 

To do this, you’ll:

  • use ground-surveying techniques to check the site’s geology 
  • drill earth and rock samples for lab testing
  • build up computer models of a site and its deposits
  • make recommendations on how to proceed

If mining goes ahead, you’ll:

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

You might also make sure the site can be restored as closely as possible to its original state after the quarry workings end.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £28,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 to £60,000

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

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may need to work overtime to meet deadlines.

Your time will be split between the office and the quarry or mine. 

Conditions on site are likely to be dusty, dirty and cramped. 

You’ll wear protective clothing at all times on site.

On some contracts you may work away from home, possibly overseas, for weeks or months at a time.

6. Career path and progression

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

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Last updated: 08 December 2016