What does a Mine Surveyor do?

Jessica Ellis

A mine surveyor is a professional engineer and architect who manages the design and future plans for a mining site. These professionals tend to come from varied educational backgrounds, and may work as independent consultants or with a mining operation. A mine surveyor has a tremendous responsibility to ensure the safety of a mine for workers through accurate assessment and careful management.

Tunnels in a mine.
Tunnels in a mine.

Becoming a mine surveyor usually requires an educational background that may include mathematics, engineering, or architecture. In addition to formal education, many surveyors receive extensive vocational and on-the-job training in their field. Some surveying jobs require university degrees, but others may substitute sufficient work experience in place of a traditional education.

Mining is a very dangerous profession.
Mining is a very dangerous profession.

One of the biggest jobs that a mine surveyor will usually take part in is the creation of maps and plans for the mine. In this task, the surveyor must be able to take accurate measurements of the landscape, including height, depth, and other considerations, and turn the information into a usable map. Surveyors must also be able to research the clear boundaries of the mine area, to ensure that the operation does not encroach on other properties.

Getting the topographical information requires knowledge of surveying instruments, such as theodolites and GPS systems. Surveyors may spend most of their working days out of doors, taking exact and careful measurements of every dip and rise in the landscape. With raw measurement data in hand, a surveyor will then need to convert the information into data that can be used to create a topographical map that includes relative positions, elevations, and other critical measurement information.

In addition to building maps for both the surface and underground operations of a mine, a mine surveyor may need to provide detailed drawings, written explanations, and plans for future expansion. These documents may be very important to obtaining legal permits and insurance certification for the mining operation. Technical drawing, writing ability, and good communication skills are often helpful in this process.

A mine surveyor may be needed to keep records of all mine activity, such as excavations. Mine surveys may needed to be updated on a weekly or monthly basis to incorporate all changes to the mine. Any additions or changes to the surface landscape, such as new buildings added or permanent landscape alterations caused by an event such as an earthquake, may also trigger the need for updated surveys. With the busy aura of activity that usually surrounds a productive mine, the job of a mine surveyor may never fully be completed.

The planning done by a mine surveyor has a huge impact on the safety of the mine workers.
The planning done by a mine surveyor has a huge impact on the safety of the mine workers.

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