Mine surveyors undertake both underground and surface surveys designed to produce information for the construction of mine plants. Mine Surveyors are responsible for maintaining accurate plans of mines as a whole and will update maps of the surface layout to account for new buildings and other structures, as well as surveying the underground mine workings in order to keep a record of the mining operation.
They plan the direction and extent of all underground workings, and use advanced surveying techniques and instruments to give these directions underground. All underground workings are plotted and kept regularly updated, so that surface officials and management can pinpoint any spot underground at any given time.
Mine surveyors are responsible for measuring the areas and volumes blasted by underground crews. Each month they measure the quantity of work done by mining contractors underground, and calculate their contractual earnings. More importantly, surveyors are involved in the measuring process to calculate ore production, in volume or mass units, from the mining operation.
In addition to this, the volume of the dumps of waste accumulating on the surface of the mining property will also be surveyed. This aspect of the work has turned mine surveyors into managers of mines' resources.
Mine surveyors are responsible for taking regular samples of reefs exposed in underground excavations, to determine which areas are profitable to mine. Thus, their work has to be very accurate at all times. Senior survey personnel also perform management functions, as well as managing the underground "ore" reserve.
Mine surveyors will usually perform the practical underground work in the mornings and spend the afternoons on the surface, assimilating findings and doing the necessary calculations.
- working both outdoors and indoors
- challenge and variety of work
- relatively stable employment
- working with others
- working underground
- the risk of injury on the job
- being stuck on one mine in an isolated region
A mine surveyor should:
- work accurately;
- have an aptitude for figure work;
- be honest;
- have integrity;
- be physically fit;
- able to trust own judgement and make own decisions;
- able to work independently and as part of a team.
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Geography, Information Technology
Diploma: N.Dip: Mine Surveying - UNISA, Mineral Surveying - UJ, Land Surveying or Surveying and Mapping - UKZN.
In-service training can be undertaken to obtain a Government Mine Surveyor's Certificate of Competency.
After induction at a Mining Training Centre, trainee surveyors attend a course in Basic Sampling and Stope Measuring, after which they are placed with a mine to apply these aspects practically. Trainees qualify as candidates for the Chamber of Mines Basic Sampling Certificate after six months' service.
Once this certificate has been obtained, they attend a course in Elementary Sampling and Development Measuring. Pre-examination courses are held for all the remaining Chamber of Mines Certificate examinations, which include Elementary Mine Surveying, Advanced Mine Valuation and Advanced Mine Survey. The duration of both the in-service and the theoretical components is 18 months.
Mine surveyors must also obtain Certificates of Fitness (also called 'Red Tickets'), which declare them fit for work underground.
- local and international mining groups
- self-employment, with enough experience, can start own business and work on a contractual basis for mining groups
Chamber of Mines of South Africa