In most circumstances when people or companies refer to mining consultants they are referring to mining engineers who work with mine owners to plan and develop mining operations.
Consultants often help design and develop new types of mining equipment and offer training and advice to the people who will need to operate it. Some consultants and mining engineers will be hired by local and federal governments to ensure that all safety and environmental concerns and regulations are being properly addressed.
Another area that mining consultants may be employed in is the actual determination, after ore is discovered, if the mine is a feasible operation to be profitable. Studying rock samples, maps, nearby waterways as well as meeting and speaking with local scientists and government officials they can make a well-informed decision on whether the mine should move forward.
Once the decision has been made by the mining company and it's investors (if necessary) the consultants then must decide what is the best way to design mines and shafts and what type of mining operation will do the best job. They will in a lot of cases be required to supervise the actual mining operation. Mining consultants may be responsible for setting up training programs for workers and supervisors. Other consultants may be called in or kept on salary as inspectors to make sure that bracing, cribbing and supports are properly in place and air quality is safe with proper ventilation equipment for the type and scope of the mine. Consultants are even required when operations cease or are moved to work out plans to restore the land around and over the mines so they can be used for other purposes.
Many mining engineers also gain employment as consultants specializing in equipment that is used to extract ore from the mines. A few examples of the machines they work or develop are ventilation systems, earth and rock moving conveyors and even the railroads that run down into the mines. Other consultants are specialized in high explosives used to blast ore from the mine face.
Careers in the mining consulting field are challenging and usually well paying but they also have their drawbacks such as frequent travel, long hours, working in confined spaces and often being on call around the clock.
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