Roadmap to a career as a Mining Inspector in India

For those who have a fascination for all things geological, namely, what lies within and beneath the earth’s ground and even oceanic plates, both of the mineral and metallic kind, there’s an unusual career path that you can take – that of an Inspector of Mines.

So what exactly is your role as a Mining Inspector? Let's find out-

Key functional roles and responsibilities

As a Mining Inspector you will be inspecting existing mines as well as prospective ones. An inspection includes an assessment of the hazards to the local environment and the safety of the people working at the site and in the mine. You need to ensure that all activities at the mining site are in compliance with the plans that were approved for its functioning and the mining has legal permits and licenses. Everything has to be put down in detailed inspection reports. You may even be required to verbally halt the mining work as an immediate measure, such as if you find health and safety measures are not in place. Illegal mining is a high priority to report about right away to the Mining Commissioner and other official authorities of the State and Central Govt.

Eligibility requirements

For the post of Inspector of Mines, you require a Degree in Science with Geology as a subject or a Degree in Mining Engineering or a Diploma in Mining. For the position of an Assistant Inspector of Mines, a Class 12 pass may be sufficient, in which case, you need to pass Class 12 in a 10+2 system with Science or any equivalent exam from a Board of School Education or any other recognized institution.

In terms of age, you need to be at least 18 years of age, while the maximum acceptable is 30 years in some organizations and 45 years in others. Age relaxation is considered in the case of reserved category candidates and for ex-Servicemen as well, as per the prevailing Central Govt. norms.

It is not sufficient to know just English and Hindi. It is also important to have language skills, written, verbal, and oral, in the local language of the State because a lot of communication will be taking place on site with mine owners and workers who speak only the local language.

Skills and general knowledge

Some very basics of being able to read a map, use a compass, computer proficiency to write up reports, and the like are very useful for a career as a Mining Inspector. You should also be able to use, maintain and calibrate testing equipment. Those assigned with the task of inspectng mines may also require to know the types of mine rescue equipment and how to use them, ensuring that they are in workable condition at all times for emergency use.

You need to be generally aware of the legal framework for mining in the State where you are employed and for which minerals a Mining Permit can be granted and for how long. For example, there are permits that are issued only for a fixed number of months and not beyond a certain quantity (how much mining can be done). Such permits will not be issued by you, but by the State-appointed Mining Officer and other authorities, such as the State-appointed Geologist to whom you will be reporting. Knowledge of the different permits and licenses is thus essential, such as the Prospecting License (PL), the Reconnaissance Permit (RP), the Mining Lease (ML), etc.

Naturally, it is essential to be healthy and physically fit with no serious medical ailments.

Where to study

So where do you start the career path to becoming a Mining Inspector? Given below are just a few of the reputed institutes in India that offer a Graduate Degree in Geology/Mining Engineering.

For Geology courses

1. Department of Geology of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh - B.Sc. (Hons.) Geology, M.Sc., Petroleum Geosciences, M.Sc. (Tech.) Geology.

2. Hansraj College, New Delhi - B.Sc. (H) Geology; the classes of core courses of this UG program are conducted by and at the Department of Geology, University of Delhi to which the college is affiliated.

3. Geology Department, Fergusson College, Pune, Maharashtra B.Sc., M.Sc., M.Phil and Ph.D. courses in Geology

4. Department of Geology, Presidency College, Chennai, Tamilnadu - B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. programs in Geology.

5. Department of Geology, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, Maharashtra - Geoglogy is an optional subject that you can take up for the UG B.Sc. course. You can then pursue M.Sc. Geology in the same college.

6. Department of Earth Sciences, IISER Kolkata, West Bengal - 5-year Integrated B.S.-M.S. Degree in Earth Science, Post B. Sc. Integrated Ph.D., Ph. D in Earth Sciences.

7. Department of Applied Geology, Indian School of Mines, - 5-year Integrated M.Sc. Tech. Applied Geology, 3-year M.Sc. Tech. Applied Geology, 2-year M.Tech in Mineral Exploration, Engineering Geology and Petroleum Exploration, and Ph.D. programs.

8. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela, Odisha - M.Sc. Applied Geology.

Of course, the above is not an exhaustive list. There are dozens more reputed institutes that offer UG, PG, and research programs in the discipline of Geology.

For Mining Engineering

The Indian Institute of Technology (earlier the (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, Jharkhand is the most prestigious institute for Mining Engineering programs. What it offers -

1. Department of Mining Engineering - 4-year B. Tech. Mining Engineering, 4-year B. E. Mining Engineering, M.Tech. Mining Engineering, M.Tech. Geomatics, M.Tech. Tunneling and Underground Space Technology (TUST), M.Tech. Opencast Mining.

2. Department of Mining Machinery Engineering - B. Tech. Mining Machinery Engineering, M.Tech. Mining Machinery Engineering, Research Degree (Junior Research Fellow) in Mining Machinery Engineering.

Other academic avenues-

1. Department of Mining Engineering at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela, Odisha - B.Tech. Mining Engineering, B.Tech.-M.Tech. Dual Degree in Mining Engineering (five years), M.Tech. Mining Engineering. 

2. Department of Mining Engineering in the College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, Chennai, Tamilnadu - B.E. Mining, M.S. (by research), Ph.D.

3. Department of Petroleum Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun, Uttarakhand - B.Tech. Mining

4. Department of Mining Engineering, NITK Surathkal, Karnataka - B.Tech. Mining Engineering, M.Tech. (Research) in Rock Excavation Technology and Management, Ph.D.

You can also check out the syllabus of the UG and PG courses offered by the Departments of Metalurgical and Materials Engineering at various IITs, at the Delhi Technological University (DTU), NITK Surathkal, etc.

Selection process

Look out for job opportunities to begin your career as a Mining Inspector. There may be a written test followed by an interview during recruitment drives for the post of a Mining Inspector, but this is not the case always. In some States, candidates are recruited solely on the basis of their academic scores. In the case of a written test, the questions will be related to both Geology and General Knowledge (GK). The former will cover aspects like surveying, prospecting, economic and structural geology, remote sensing etc. GK questions will include those related to the country as well as those specific to the State, such as on administration and economy, festivals and tourist spots, current affairs and sports, etc.

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