The mining sector in Australia plays an integral part in the country’s economy, and the region is a major global contributor of coal, rutile, zinc, uranium, gold and aluminium exportation. When it comes to ensuring that mines are kept running smoothly and efficiently, the skills and expertise that mining consultants in Australia bring to the table are invaluable. And with stakes so high, mining consultants will always be in demand.

According to John Leadbetter, senior managing director at Vega, fewer younger people are pursuing mining engineering opportunities, which means that it is an in-demand skill and an excellent career choice that is not only exciting and challenging but will make you attractive to large mining companies.

But what does a mining consultant do?

Mining consultants in Australia are at the top of mining companies’ lists when they’re looking to design a new mine or improve efficiency at an existing facility. These consultants will be experts in mining processes and ore discovery, advising companies on the best locations, mining methods, and processing practises.

When designing safe and productive mines, mining consultants focus on optimising methods for removing materials from ore, ensuring maximum throughput and productivity. Consultants contracted to work for a mine will work closely with mining engineers and geologists that are already part of the team to harness group expertise and get the most out of the mine.

Mining consultants may also be called upon to improve existing equipment by analysing current processing operations and implementing ways in which it can be improved in terms of efficiency, productivity and safety.

Of course, this is a challenging career, requiring bright and motivated individuals with excellent problem-solving, communication and mathematic skills. It will also involve frequent travel and working in adverse environments when consultants are in the field, but Leadbetter argues that it’s worth the work as mining consultants will have opportunities to work on prestigious projects with some of the world’s biggest companies.

The annual salary of a mining consultant may also be an attractive incentive. According to Glassdoor, mining consultants in Australia look to earn between A$102K ($64,293) and A$162K ($102,113), with an average reported salary of A$132,719 ($83,657).

How to become a mining consultant in Australia

Typically, a Bachelor of Engineering degree (majoring in mining or geotechnical engineering) is required to work as a mining consultant.

To get the most out of your qualification, and to make yourself attractive to major mining companies, it’s also advised that you are registered with a professional body or are licensed via a regulatory authority. Organisations such as the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy are a great start for networking and finding experience in the mining industry.

With the diversity of day-to-day tasks, and the opportunity to work with mines across the country, Leadbetter encourages people interested in mining and engineering to consider mining consultancy.

For more information about Vega, visit the company’s website here.