Mining Engineer Spotlight

In the oil sands industry, Mining Engineers are a bedrock for success. They are at the heart of the planning, designing, organization and development of oil sands open-pit mines. Using a combination of foresight, ingenuity and leadership, these professionals handle everything from the day-to-day mining activities to the long-range planning of the facility.

What a typical day looks like:

Mining Engineers are focused on meeting production targets. This can either take the engineers to the complex world of long-term planning or into the short-term action and pace of onsite mining.

At an oil sands mine site, Mining Engineers are short-range planners who are responsible for managing the flurry of day-to-day activities and the logistics amid the dust and noise. They work with surveyors to get an updated mine contours map and assess all of the recent mine activity: where the shovels are, how much they’re producing and what’s being produced. Based on that information, they develop a weekly plan that factors in a combination of production targets from the extraction plant and the site’s yearly budget. Working closely with the General Foreman, they direct all the activity and ensure the shovels are producing ore that meets certain grade characteristics and feeding it to the processing plant.

Long-range planning Mining Engineers keep their eye on the big picture. They are the visionaries who are looking five, 10 or even 20 years down the road to make projections and plans to optimize resource extraction during the mine’s full lifecycle. They analyze newly drilled core holes each year, update the geological modelling with new drilling information and build an updated yearly or long-term budget. They also factor in the estimated productivity for the shovels, the availability of equipment and people and the cost of materials alongside new drilling data to update projections and yearly plans.

The kinds of problems Mining Engineers solve at work:

In both the short and long-range roles, Mining Engineers ensure the production targets are met and that quality requirements are being met. They’re overseeing the logistics and activities and solving logistical issues as they arise to make sure production goals are staying on schedule and on budget. They use the data they have to analyze the situation and make decisions that will improve productivity, solve challenges and optimize production rates.

Skills used most on the job:

Mining Engineers work around mine-related hazards such as dust and heavy equipment, so safety is key. They also have strong math, technical, geological skills.

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