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Nature of work

Mine surveyors are experts in mine surveying methods, mine planning, geology, mine valuation and finance. They carry out surveys to gather information for mine planning, by measuring and observing using special surveying equipment and methods and taking ore samples.

By carrying out surveys, mine surveyors are able to work out and map the position, structure and size of the most profitable areas to mine for mineral deposits by mining cartography (mine plans). They assist with the buying, leasing, selling and management of mineral properties. Mine surveyors are responsible for measuring the areas and volumes blasted by the underground crew on a daily basis and keeping mine plans and information updated to allow for safe, economical mine planning and management. Their plans help new mines to avoid older ones which may have flooded and allow new connections to be made between underground passages in the mine.

A mine surveyor studies and predicts the effects that mining will have on the environment and plans methods for rehabilitation of the land after it has been mined, in collaboration with government planning authorities. Mine surveyors spend their mornings carrying out routine underground surveys and their afternoons on the surface studying their findings, entering them into the computer, doing calculations and updating the plans of the mine. They are also responsible for measuring how much work the mining contractors have done underground and calculating payments due to them.

Personal qualities

A mine surveyor should:

  • enjoy and have a good aptitude for Mathematics and Physical Science
  • have good spatial abilities and be able to picture things in three dimensions
  • have high ethical standards and good judgement
  • work accurately and methodically
  • be physically healthy and strong

Job opportunities

Mine surveyors are employed by local and international mining groups. The mining industry is one of the largest and most important industries in South Africa. Well-trained, experienced mine surveyors have good opportunities for career advancement and can start their own businesses working as contractors to mining groups.

Career path

Required school subjects: English, Maths, Physical Science

Mine Surveying is studied at university.  Applicants have to undergo a medical fitness test. The Chamber of Mines also offers in-house training courses. Applicants may study towards a Chamber of Mines Advanced Certificate in Mine Surveying and a Chamber of Mines Advanced Certificate in Mine Valuation. Graduates then complete between 18 months (for degree graduates) and 5 years (for NHDip graduates) of practical and theoretical in-service training to get a Government Mine Surveyor’s Certificate of Competency and register with the South African Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors (PLATO) as professional mine surveyors. They also have to obtain a Certificate of Fitness (“Red Ticket”) to work underground from the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. When mine surveyors start working, they begin as trainee mine supervisors, progressing to become chief surveyors, section surveyors, senior surveyors, and finally mine survey managers.

Bursary Register

Salary range

No information available.

Educational qualifications

Mine Surveyors study a 4 year full-time BMining and Environmental Geology degree, or a National Diploma in Mine Surveying (3 years), or a National Higher Diploma in Mine Surveying (1 year). Bursaries to study Mine Surveying are available from Anglo American Corporation of South Africa (Career Wise Bursary Unit), Anglo Platinum, Anglo Coal, the CSIR, Gencor, Impala, Ingwe, Iscor, KUMBA Resources, Lonman Platinum, Mintek, and Sasol.

Qualifications related to Mine Surveying:

  • Bachelor of Earth Sciences in Mine Surveying (BES MIS) - University of Venda
  • NDip Mine Surveying – UNISA
  • NDip Mine Surveying – University of Johannesburg
  • NHDip Mine Surveying – University of Johannesburg
  • Chamber of Mines Advanced Certificate in Mine Surveying – Chamber of Mines
  • Chamber of Mines Advanced Certificate in Mine Valuation – Chamber of Mines
  • Graduate Diploma in Engineering – University of the Witwatersrand

Websites of universities which offer qualifications related to Mine Surveying:
UNISA (http://www.unisa.ac.za)
University of Johannesburg (http://www.uj.ac.za)
University of the Witwatersrand (http:/./www.wits.ac.za)
University of Venda (http://www.univen.ac.za)

Related careers

  • Assayer and Sampler
  • Geologist
  • Geotechnologist
  • Land Surveyor
  • Materials Scientist
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Miner
  • Mineralogist
  • Mining Assistant
  • Mining Engineer

Links and addresses

Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa (IMSSA) (http://www.ims.org.za)
South African Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors (PLATO), PO Box 83018, South Hills, 2136. Tel: (011) 626-1040 / 80, Fax: (011) 626-2007. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Website: http://www.plato.org.za
International Society for Mine Surveying (http://www.ism.rwth-aachen.de/cms/front_content.php)
Chamber of Mines, Head of Training, PO Box 61809, Marshalltown, 2107. Tel: (011) 498-7100.
Concor Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Human Resources Director, PO Box 8259, Johannesburg, 2000/. Tel: (011) 495-2222.
Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly online magazine (http://www.miningweekly.co.za)
Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Ltd / Anglogold Ltd / De Beers Ltd, Human Resources Manager, c/o Career Wise Bursary Unit, PO Box 30632, Braamfontein, 2017. Tel: 0800117884.
Anglo Platinum, PO Box 450, Kroondal, 0350.
Anglo Coal, Private Bag X9, Leraatsfontein, 1038.
AngloGold Ashanti (http://www.anglogold.com)
CSIR, PO Box 395, Pretoria, 0001.
Gencor Bursary Scheme, The Manager, PO Box 61820, Marshalltown, 2107. Tel: (011) 376-2374 / 7.
Gold Fields of South Africa Ltd, Group Personnel Officer (Services), Personnel Division, PO Box 61525, Marshalltown, 2017.
Impala, PO Box 5683, Rustenburg, 0300.
Ingwe, PO Box 13028, Leraatsfontein, 1038.
Iscor Mining, Manager: Psychological Services, PO Box 9229, Pretoria, 0001.
KUMBA Resources, Manager: Psychological Services, PO Box 9229, Pretoria, 0001.
Lonman Platinum, PO Box 450, Kroondal, 0350.
Mintek Undergraduate Bursary, Head: Recruitment, Private Bag X3015, Randburg, 2125.
Sasol Ltd Bursary Fund, Bursary Department, PO Box 5486, Johannesburg, 2000.