Geology is a field of science that pertains to the earth. Geology studies structure, composition, and the physical properties of the world we live in. A mining geologist is a professional who applies this science to mining. It is the primary responsibility of this geologist to ensure that minerals, rocks, and gems are extracted from mines, pits, and quarries in a manner that allows maximum profit and involves minimal problems.
In order to profit from materials extracted from the earth, those materials must first be located. Using tools such as aerial photographs, field maps, and geophysical surveys, the mining geologist determines where valuable materials are and estimates how much of those materials are in that location. He is usually the individual who will determine the life span of the mining venture and who will determine how profitable it is likely to be, by assessing the grade and structure of mineral bodies.
It is also the duty of a mining geologist to map the area where he believes valuable minerals are. He must record and compile geological data so that the mining engineer has accurate details of the location, structure, and distribution of minerals in a deposit. Additionally, he must make computer models of the mine, quarry, or pit that he can share the mining engineer. Together, the two find the best approach for establishing the work environment and extracting the valuable materials. These responsibilities make these geologists indispensable, for without them, mining companies would not know where to dig, how deep to dig, or when to stop digging.
The job of a mining geologist does not end once the work area is set up and extraction begins. He must continue to study the materials that are extracted and assess their quality. This requires attention to detail and excellent color vision, as it is sometimes necessary to note slight variations in rocks and minerals.
The mining geologist’s constant exploration and sampling is part of his responsibility for environmental impact. He needs to assess and solve problems pertaining to what the extraction of natural materials does to the land and the people living on it. For example, he may discover through his research that there is a high probability that houses within a certain radius are in danger of sink holes. Such problems need to be avoided, not solved after the fact.
The mining geologist also needs to provide advice on how to keep the mining environment safe. He does this by identifying dangers such as rock faults, ground water or conditions that could result in uncontrolled explosions. Workers lives and the mining company’s assets are at stake if he is unable to perform these tasks.