Metallurgical Engineer

Metallurgical Engineers design metal parts, study the properties of metals and solve problems in the manufacturing of these metals. Metallurgical Engineers play an important role in the mining industry as they are involved in the processing of materials from the mines, and are involved in various processing methods to turn metals into more useful products.

Typical Duties

  • There are many things a Metallurgical Engineer will do on a day to day basis however a large proportion of their job will be the conversion of raw metal, into a more useable format. These metals can include gold, silver as well as copper, aluminium and other metals
  • Design methods for separating metal from the rest of the components, with consideration to the environment
  • Apply their knowledge of metals to solve complex problems
  • Deal with all aspects of the production and application of metals and their alloys
  • Create and oversee extraction processes
  • Work closely with Mining Engineers to coordinate the extraction process and extract the metal from the ore once it has been mined
  • Refining the metals recovered
  • Since most metals cannot be utilized in their purest forms, the Metallurgical Engineer will create combinations that can provide the metals in the right compositions
  • Liaise and work with a wide range of personnel, from Mining Foremen to Plant Supervisors and Engineers
  • Use advanced equipment such as X-ray devices, electron microscopes and spectrographs in their research and development
  • Metallurgical Engineers are concerned with finding new and improved ways of finding metal in rock, and will be involved in the process involved in extracting this metal as well as the impact that it has on the environment, conservation of energy and the disposal of the rock

Working Conditions

  • Metallurgical Engineers may work in laboratories or be required to travel to mine sites, where they work with various other Engineers and Metallurgical Technicians
  • Depending on the type of mine, they may work in the open above ground, or underground where it can be cramped
  • Production sites can be remotely located and can be hot and noisy, and Engineers may be required to wear protective glasses and clothing
  • Metallurgical Engineers must be prepared to travel and will often stay away from home for extended periods. They may be required to live on site away from home, or to work on a fly in fly out basis. FIFO commonly involves flying in for a certain period of time whilst the Metallurgical Engineer would be on site, and then flying home for periods when they are off work
  • Metallurgical Engineers will get to see the world as if working for large international companies, their job will often involve international travel

Educational Requirements

  • Students interested in entering Metallurgical Engineering programs should take courses in Mathematics and Science in high school
  • A Bachelor’s of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering is required, with Majors in Metallurgical Engineering, Metallurgy or Materials Sciences
  • Should you be interested in a Research or Academic position, it will require a Doctorate or Master’s degree
  • Many of the more senior positions also require an advanced degree
  • Metallurgical Engineers will generally have to have a strong background in Math and Science, especially Chemistry and Physics
  • They will have to have strong problem solving abilities, as well as the ability to communicate effectively

Personal Attributes

  • Have an interest in technology, science and engineering and enjoy problem solving
  • Enjoy working with Math, Science and Computers
  • Must be able to work independently or in a team
  • Be able to embrace new techniques and technologies, and an interested in keeping up to date on industry requirements and advancements
  • Be able to work under pressure
  • Have a good work ethic and be goal oriented

Compensation

  • Metallurgical Engineers typically command good salaries
  • Engineers across the board are renowned to earn high salaries, and Metallurgical Engineers are no exception
  • They spend many years studying, work hard and often have to make sacrifices in times of time spent away from their families, and for this reason it’s important that they are adequately compensated

Salary

  • Find out more about salaries here.

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