Corporate

Health and safety, Environmental management, Business administration, Accounting and finance, Law, Stakeholder engagement and communications, Human resources management.

Health and safety

Mine sites are inherently hazardous places to work. Hazards to worker health and safety must be identified and managed to reduce risk to workers to acceptable levels. The other aspect of Health & Safety is mines rescue, which falls in the area of emergency management. These are specialised fields, with their own branches of training.

 

Environmental management

Site rehabilitation, and biodiversity conservation are core business in mining, as important as any other aspect of the operation. Environmental management is an integral part of the design of the mining operation. 
There is an overlap with engineering for earthworks, and landscaping and planting and gardening. Other skill areas include animal and plant pest control, and capturing, managing and moving wildlife.

 

Business administration

A mine is a business much like any other: it must sell what it produces for the cost of production as a minimum, and, preferably, for a profit, or a return to investors. 
In the case of mining, the production cost can vary greatly in response to ore grades and the difficulty of extracting it, as can the price of the finished product. Coupled with this challenge is raising the investment capital to fund the upfront, and often very large costs of finding and developing a mine, against the projections for subsequent returns, which can never be certain.

 

Accounting and finance

Money management is an important part of running a mining business, effectively and legally, and informs many difficult decisions. To raise money from investors or to go to the bank. To strike a balance between training junior staff on the job, and employing experienced workers. To sell standard coal more cheaply, compared to spending more on mining to produce a higher-quality product that sells for a higher price.

 

Law

Mining companies face a wide variety of legislative and regulatory requirements. 
Fields of applicable law cover: commercial, contracts, overseas investment, construction and engineering, rights to minerals, resource management and environment, tax and royalties, employment, and health and safety. 
An in-house mining lawyer needs to be conversant with a wide range of law, while the specialists usually work in several different industries.

 

Stakeholder engagement and communications

Mines and miners are part of the communities in which they operate. 
An important role of any mining company is to inform, and engage with members of the community, as well as Maori groups. 
An engineer’s view of a mining proposal may not be considered through the same lens by someone else. Engagement entails conveying the facts and evidence clearly, with an eye to the audience, and providing for stakeholder input into the project. Controversy over environmental management can be eased with local involvement in monitoring work. 
This is a busy, people-oriented field.

 

Human resources management

Minerals exploration and mining attract particular types of people to particular parts of the business – a good challenge to have for employers, recruiters, and managers. 
The work ranges from the practical to the theoretical, and everything in between. A can-do attitude with a healthy dose of optimism is encouraged, always tempered by attention to the detail, to health and safety, to responsible operations.