Every single German consumes an average of 1,000 tons of mineral raw materials in their lifetime. At first glance, an enormous number. But if you take a closer look, it quickly becomes clear how this sum comes about.
Houses, televisions and cars contain kilos of steel, iron, aluminum, stone, plaster of paris, gravel and the like. There are also other raw materials such as coal, crude oil or natural gas that are used when driving, flying or heating. A large part of these raw materials is obtained in Germany . Coal is mined in open pit and underground mining, while oil and natural gas are extracted through wells.
Due to the high consumption of raw materials, but also against the background of dwindling resources, mining and raw material engineers are required to develop new deposits, safely mine raw materials and, if necessary, prepare them for further processing and refinement. They don’t just have to keep an eye on the profitability of their work. They are also entrusted with the important task of making the extraction and processing of raw materials as environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable as possible .
Studying mining in Germany: study options, degrees and requirements
According to Microedu, studying mining or raw materials engineering is only possible at a few universities and technical colleges in Germany.
The bachelor’s degree begins with the basic subjects of mathematics , chemistry and physics that are typical of engineering . The students acquire basic technical knowledge in subjects such as process engineering or mechanical engineering . In addition, geoscientific subjects are also on the program, for example mineralogy or geology.
In the further course of their studies, students can often specialize in certain forms of extraction and processing or certain types of raw materials, such as mining, deep drilling technology or stones and earth.
In the master’s degree programs in the field of mining / raw materials engineering, students have the opportunity to further specialize and qualify for management tasks. A wide variety of topics can be in the foreground, for example the use of renewable raw materials or natural gas transport and its distribution.
Requirements for a mining degree
As for all engineering courses, applicants for mining and raw materials engineering should be interested in mathematics and science subjects such as chemistry and physics . Knowledge of computer science is also helpful for starting your studies. Since many specialist articles and books are only available in English, a good knowledge of English is also important.
Study mining abroad
Mining and raw materials engineering are also seldom offered subjects abroad. However, especially in countries with high raw material deposits such as Australia , Canada or South Africa , there are quite a few interesting and highly recognized courses of study in mining or mining engineering . In some cases, courses in petroleum engineering are also offered. Students on such a course can specialize in the extraction of crude oil and natural gas.
Advantages of studying abroad
The market for raw materials is global and many companies in this area are internationally positioned. For this reason, prospective mining and raw materials engineers can spend some time abroad during their bachelor’s or master’s degree. Many universities teach in this subject area in a very practice-oriented manner and are closely linked to local industry. Therefore, not only new technical knowledge can be expected here, but also insights into professional practice .
A complete master’s or even doctoral degree abroad can also be worthwhile. Depending on the country and raw material deposits, the main research areas differ considerably, so that going abroad can open up access to the most renowned professors and scientists in the respective field of interest and thus bring great advantages for your future career.
While studying abroad, students can always improve their foreign language skills . You will also collect valuable intercultural competencies and soft skills . This includes, for example, the ability to work in international teams; but also characteristics such as flexibility and organizational talent. These additional qualifications will benefit you in your later professional life.
The chances of entering professional life directly after university are relatively good for mining and raw materials engineers. Classical employers are mining operations or operators of mines . The tasks of a mining / raw material engineer include, for example, exploring deposits, planning raw material extraction and monitoring production. Quality assurance and the preparation of raw materials for further processing and refinement can also be the task of the engineers.
Areas of application apart from the concrete extraction of raw materials are, for example, recycling or the remediation of contaminated sites. In addition to companies in the raw materials industry, engineering offices , companies from the construction industry as well as construction, mining and environmental authorities and associations are possible employers who appreciate the extensive know-how of mining and raw material engineers .