Minerals/mining surveyor
Building Planning & Surveying

Minerals/Mining Surveyors carry out surface and underground surveys for mining purposes. They are legally responsible for up to date and accurate plans of mines and the surrounding area. They are also responsible for submitting planning applications. They calculate the amount of minerals (e.g. coal or ore) from measurements taken, and plot gradients, levels and geological faults.

Work Activities

Minerals/Mining Surveyors liaise with a team of other professionals, such as geologists and engineers, to ensure safe operations of mines. They are concerned with minimising the environmental damage which may be caused by mining activities. They are also involved with planning developments and extensions.

Typical job responsibilities include:

  • Conducting surface and underground surveys and risk assessments for mining purposes
  • Charting and mapping the structure of a site using Global Positioning Systems (GPS), 3D modelling using digital images and specialist CAD (computer-aided design) software
  • Ensuring that plans of mines and the surrounding areas are accurate by frequently updating information
  • Responsible for submitting planning applications
  • Planning mining operations through calculating the amount of minerals from measurements taken
  • Providing valuations of mineral deposits
  • Minimising any environmental damage due to mining and extraction activity
  • Providing advice on safe disposal of waste and restoring the landscape after extraction
  • Planning the ventilation of the shaft and rescue routes
  • Negotiating legal matters such as permission to mine, subsidence and compensation
  • Liaising with other professionals, such as geologists and engineers, to ensure safe and legal operation of the mine
  • Responsible for the safe and efficient running of the mine and surrounding area

Minerals/Mining Surveyors are generally office-based but would sometimes work on site or even underground. They would generally work a 35 -40 hour week but overtime work on some evenings or weekdays or possibly shifts may be expected.

Conditions on site are often dirty, dusty, dark and enclosed, and sometimes hot and noisy. There will be rough ground, ladders and bending down and there will be a risk of minor injuries. The job requires you to wear overalls, a safety helmet and special footwear. You will need to have good general fitness and no allergic reaction to dust.

Future career progression will depend on the organisation in which you are working. There may be opportunities to advance to senior positions which usually involved more managerial and administrative duties, for example, overseeing projects and supervising staff.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for Minerals/Mining Surveyors

  • A strong awareness of planning legislation and health and safety issues
  • An excellent knowledge of minerals and their properties
  • Able to take responsibility for making decisions
  • Strong IT and numerical skills
  • A scientific approach to work
  • Confident in using surveying technology and CAD software
  • Able to handle complex information
  • Able to work effectively both in a team and independently
  • Good observational skills
  • Sound analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • The ability to drive and operate machinery and equipment

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of Minerals/Mining Surveyors

Example of typical employers of Minerals/Mining Surveyors:

  • Mining or Quarrying Companies
  • The HMRC Mineral Valuations Office
  • Local Authorities
  • Statutory and Government Bodies
  • Mineral Extraction Companies
  • Private Practice Consultancy
  • Universities

This is a small surveying specialism but there are good opportunities for jobs in the U.K. which are mostly in gas, coal, or gravel mining.


Qualifications and training required

Most entrants to this profession study for an approved degree in Minerals/Mining Surveying, Surveying for Resource Development, Mineral Resources, or Minerals Estate Management. Degrees in Minerals/Mining Engineering, Oceanography, Geophysics or Geology may also be acceptable. Details of approved degrees can be obtained from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Entry into a degree course requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A*- C) and 2 A levels preferably including a science subject. Relevant BTEC Level 3 National qualifications may also be acceptable, for example, in Surveying and Construction.

In Scotland entry to a relevant degree course will be 4-5 Highers (A-C) including Maths and Science as well as National 5s including English. Check individual requirements carefully.

It may also be possible to secure an Advanced or Degree Level Apprenticeship in Surveying or a Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland. Entry for these routes is likely to require 5 GCSEs at grades 9 – 4 (A* - C) including English, Maths and a Science and 2 A levels, preferably in Maths and Physics.

Most Minerals/Mining Surveyors qualify as Members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) by completing an accredited degree or diploma, but there are other professional qualifications which are also acceptable. Courses can vary considerably so they should be chosen carefully.

Most people first take a three year full time or 4 year sandwich degree course. Some start by studying part time for an accredited course whilst working. All entrants continue to study by distance learning or day release for an appropriate professional qualification. There are some professional exam exemptions for holders of relevant degrees and diplomas. Check with the professional body (RICS) for further details.

For those with non-related degrees there are some appropriate postgraduate courses. Professional qualification usually requires at least two years practical experience after training culminating in a professional review and interview.

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