Mining Engineering is a field that involves many of the other engineering disciplines as applied to extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment.
The need for mineral extraction and production is an essential activity of any technically proficient society. As minerals are produced from within a naturally occurring environment, disturbance of the environment as a result of mineral production is a given. Modern mining engineers must therefore be concerned not only with the production and processing of mineral commodities, but also with the mitigation of damage or changes to an environment as a result of that production and processing.
The two primary types of mine are underground mines and open-pit mines. Minerals that exist mostly underground (eg. coal, gold etc.) are generally recovered using the underground mining process. Minerals like iron ore, limestone, manganese ore, and others are mostly recovered from the surface downwards in opencast mining. Oil sands mining is another example of open-pit mine predominant in Alberta, Canada.
Engineering disciplines that are closely related to mining engineering are:
- Civil engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Geotechnical engineering
- Hydrotechnical engineering
- Geological engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Structural Engineering
Specialized areas of mining engineering involve extraction of minerals from underwater mines, seawater, in-situ retorting of rock, and underground gasification.