Various types of mining industry jobs exist to accommodate each step of the mining process. The first step in that process is the exploration process, in which geologists examine potential mine sites for valuable materials, safety, and other scientific considerations. These geologists must do a thorough investigation of a site and write up a report that either approves the site for use or denies it based on safety concerns, environmental impacts, or non-viability for retrieving materials from the ground. Once a site has been found, other mining industry jobs will be necessary to design the mine for safety and access.
Mine designers must create a plan for extracting various materials from the ground while considering the lowest environmental impact as well has the most efficient economic feasibility. Geologists may be part of the mine design team as well; mining engineers will be the main components of such teams. These mining industry jobs require a significant level of education, as most employees on such teams will hold at least bachelor's degrees in engineering or related fields. Some members may hold higher degrees such as master's degrees or PhD degrees.
After the mine has been designed, other mining industry jobs will open up. Miners who will operate mining machinery will arrive on the job site to begin excavation according to the plans developed by the design team. These miners may work with hand tools within a mine, or they may operate heavy machinery designed to make the mining process more efficient. Safety officers must be on hand to inspect mines, and to ensure all employees are adhering to local, state, regional, or national safety standards as outlined by the national governing agency. Mine foremen will also be on hand to oversee all mine operations and make adjustments in workflow as necessary.
Heavy equipment is always necessary at mines, so trained professionals must be hired to take mining industry jobs aimed at maintaining and repairing such equipment. Heavy equipment mechanics will troubleshoot, diagnose, repair, and maintain various pieces of machinery, usually on the job site. This means being able to repair machines in a variety of conditions and on a strict time schedule. These mechanics are usually highly trained, and apprentices may work with journeyman mechanics to learn the skills right on the job site. Some machine operators can be trained to act as mechanics as well, thereby increasing their responsibilities within the mining industry.