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The Work

Mining

The mining engineer's work is to locate, extract and prepare the minerals for manufacturing use. Before developing and operating mines and oil wells, deposits are explored and located. The best mining methods are decided upon, taking geographical factors into account.

There are various methods adopted for the extraction and development of minerals deposits, depending on the nature of the deposits. These processes include the use of quarries, inclines and shafts, in open cast or underground mines.

Major Tasks Performed

Before the physical extraction takes place, the mining engineer must study the form of rock or strata to locate possible mineral deposits. In the case of operational mines various mining methods are devised and surface and under ground layouts prepared for the extraction, using proper equipment and machinery.

Mining technologists also design and supervise the construction of mine-shafts and tunnels, and methods for transporting the minerals to the processing factories The extracted substances are then treated, the metallic contents separated from the waste materials and arrangements made for the storage of these minerals.

In large mines, mining engineers may be assisted by civil, electrical and mechanical engineers. Often they work with geologists and metallurgists to locate new ore deposits, and develop mining equipment and processing operations. Safety is a major responsibility of the mining engineer.

Precautions have to be taken against collapse of earth or rock, fire, flooding and explosion in the mines, and provision made for adequate ventilation, pumping, lighting and power facilities.

Metallurgy

Metallurgy involves the handling of the minerals, and their use for a variety of products. Metallurgists also work on developing new alloys and methods for processing all kinds of metals. There are different kinds of metals, which are to be processed.

These include ferrous, non-ferrous and composite metals. Ferrous metals are those containing iron, and have magnetic properties. Non-ferrous metals include copper, aluminium and zinc, while composite metals, also known as virgin metals, are a mixture of the two.

Metallurgists process the metals through a sequence of casting, forging, rolling and drawing. Often a combination of these processes is used.

Major Tasks Performed

Metallurgists can work in three areas, chemical, physical or mechanical metallurgy. Chemical metallurgists extract, refine and alloy the metals from the ores. The nature, structure and physical properties of the metals are studied by physical metallurgists and methods devised for converting refined metals into final products. The mechanical metallurgist is concerned with the development of equipment and processes for casting, forging, rolling, etc.

Metallurgists are also required to handle quality control and ensure standards in the processing units.

They may be called upon to work on designing the composition of metals and developing new alloys according to the requirements of the end usage. The product could be anything from a stainless steel utensil to the body of an automobile.

Metallurgists also provide advice for any chemical or mechanical process requiring the use of metals. In the area of marketing, a trained metallurgical engineer can handle the sales and marketing of different metal components or products.

A metallurgist can translate a customer's demands and develop new uses for different metals and alloys. Management graduates with a background in science can also be recruited for this job.

 


 
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