Mining provides the mineral and energy resources for society, including coal, metallic ores, bauxite, phosphates, and salt, as well as such basic products as gravel, limestone, and stone that are essential to the nation's highways, power plants, bridges, and building foundations. Wherever productive mineral deposits are found - in remote outposts or close to metropolitan areas - the special skills of mining and mineral processing engineers are needed.
What is Mining Engineering?
Mining engineers are driven by the need to extract materials required for daily life while being stewards of the environment. They enjoy working in a field where each day presents unique engineering challenges. The work can take place in the field—often in an out-of-the-office setting such as a surface or underground mine—or in an office setting, using cutting-edge technology and software simulations to plan solutions to problems facing mining companies. Wherever mineral deposits exist—in remote areas or close to cities—the special skills of mining engineers are needed. Worldwide, mining companies extract more than 100 different commodities that are used in nearly every industrial sector, from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture to health care to defense. There’s a saying in the mining industry: if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined! Being a mining engineer puts you at the forefront of this critical part of the economy.
You Might Like This Program If...
- You want to work in an out-of-the-office setting.
- You are a “hands-on” problem solver and like to get your hands dirty, both literally and figuratively.
- You want to apply different engineering disciplines to your problem-solving, and prefer to not be focused on just one.
- You want to join a high-tech industry that provides the basic building blocks, minerals and other materials used in nearly every industry today.
Aspects of geological, chemical, civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering, together with business and management skills are integrated in the challenge of extracting minerals from the ground and refining them for use. Mining engineers are involved in all stages of the industrial cycle:
- exploring for new deposits and deciding if they can be mined and processed economically
- designing and constructing mines above or below ground
- managing highly complex operations
- training, managing, and ensuring the safety of personnel
- processing and marketing the raw materials
- addressing environmental pollution and waste management issues
- and designing and managing mine reclamation projects
Today, the challenges of mining are greater than ever before. New high-tech methods are being designed to make tomorrow's mines more productive, safer, and economically successful. Mining engineers are seeking ways to extract essential raw materials without causing undue disturbance to the environment, as well as to prevent pollution and reclaim land mined in the past. They are finding new solutions for some of the nation's waste disposal problems by mining for space deep in the Earth.
Penn State's mining engineering program is known and respected around the world, especially for its expertise in all phases of coal mining.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering B.S. program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.