When it comes to pursuing a degree, you have many options from which to choose. If you are interested in a technical field, you very likely might be considering an engineering degree. One option might be to study mining engineering, particularly if you are interested in the environment.
This article highlights some interesting facts that may just help pique your interest in pursuing this field.
Luck of the Irish
Luck of the Irish is an old mining term that denotes some of the most famous and successful miners. Many of them were either Irish immigrants or come from an Irish descent who found fame and fortune in the industry. Perhaps you can do the same. We associate mining in the popular consciousness with the gold and silver rushes in Western America in the 19th century. The industry today is large, sophisticated and increasingly focused on metals and materials critical to power modern electronics and batteries. There are many job opportunities in mining different metals and natural resources and it’s a global industry. So it’s an interesting career to consider that you may not have heard about. One good source of information about programs in the field is underground miner website (https://anundergroundminer.com/blog/mining-engineering-schools-north-america), which provides lots of information about the field as well as some of the best mining schools that you can consider.
Metals are minerals are endlessly fascinating and new uses for them are being developed every day. You may already know that pyrite is the original Fool’s Gold. However, what you may fail to consider is that there is other Fool's Gold such as chalcopyrite and biotite mica. Like pyrite, both chalcopyrite and biotite mica can trick people into thinking that it is valuable since it looks pretty much like gold. At first, these minerals were worth virtually nothing and used to trick unsuspecting buyers. Today, pyrite is used in production of sulfuric acid, while chalcopyrite has been an important source of copper ore for millennia. And new uses for minerals are being developed every year.
All About Minerals
When you think about mining, you may immediately think that it would be cool to work in an industry to uncover gold, silver, or other precious metals. However, there is more to underground mining than that. You may be surprised to find that an average person in the West consumes an average of 40000 pounds of minerals annually. For instance, the vitamins that you ingest to ward off colds rely on zinc. Other minerals can flavor your food such as salt. The catalytic converters that scrub pollutants out of automobile exhaust or the batteries that will one day power most cars are dependent on rare earth metals. These resources are expected to be high demand and important in our current standard of living.
Even the modern electronic gadgets that everyone now owns are made up of more than 35 different kinds of minerals. Some of the minerals that you can find in your smartphone or laptop computers include gold, copper, and zinc. Fortunately, these minerals are now made recyclable to minimize waste. Other exotic rare earth metals are shorter supply and there is a global race on to mine more of them. Even petroleum is used in more than 6,000 daily items such as plastic, crayons, and CDs. Oil does a lot more than simply fueling your car or heating your home.
Nevertheless, it still holds that copper and gold were the first metals to be unearthed. Some of the first copper discovered dates back to 8,700 BC. There are even copper pipes that date back to more than five thousand years. Bronze (an alloy of copper) transitioned humanity from the stone age eventually into the iron age. And as far as gold mining, which is rather elusive, some estimates say that more than 80% of the gold on the earth is yet to be discovered.
But in the 21st century, a key reason to consider mining engineering is from an environmental point of view. As noted, not only are consumer electronics critically dependent different rare earth elements as noted, but they are crucial in most renewable technologies (batteries, wind turbines and solar power cells for example). Mining is critical to our plans to reduce carbon emissions and manage climate change.
When it comes to underground mining, there is still so much more to discover. You may be surprised to find that this type of studies can provide many important opportunities and lead to career options that you might not have thought of immediately. We continue to find new applications for different minerals all the time and you can be there to contribute to this exciting field by pursuing a mining engineering degree.