Now for the salaries of miners and engineers and secretaries and everybody inbetween on industrial mineral and metal mines in the United States in 2008. No major surprises if you discount what seems to me to be low salaries for all, and particularly for geologists. Seems to me that folk working on the mines are way underpaid by comparison with what comparable folk working for consultants to the mining industry earn. I have no figures for the consultants’ salaries, but base this conclusion on what I know of what people I know earn working for consultants in BC and California. Most could not afford to live decently on what the average mine pays salaried staff.
The following annual salaries come from CostMine and their 2008 Survey Results U.S. Metal and Industrial Mineral Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits. I lift only a tiny bit of the vast amount of data in this survey. You will have to get the human resources officer on your mine or in your company to buy a copy to get all the information which includes details from individual mines.
For the 2008 survey, 122 mines responded to a questionnaire an provided salary data. Here are some annual salaries—the first number is for underground mines the second for surface mines—all numbers are in $1,000.
- General Manager = $147/124
- Mine Manager = $110/103
- Mill Superintendant = $104/87
- Chief Engineer = $96/87
- Mine Engineer = $ 63/65
- Metallurgist = $81/80
- Mine Geologist = $61/61
- Health and Safety Coordinator = $69/68
- Accountant = $55/65
- Secretary = $34/34
Interesting how close some salaries are at both underground and surface metal mines, yet how different some of them are. Start with the General Manager. $23K is not trivial. Or the accountant where the difference is near $10K. This is not a reflection of an overall difference in salary for people on underground versus surface mines. Consider the Mine Engineer, the person who really counts; or the Health and Safety Coordinator, another key person in my opinion.
Some low salaries that surprise me include how little the accountant gets, but then is probably not a CPA we are talking about? Mine geologist are another group who do not get as much as I would have expected. In spite of what the magazines were writing, these are not salaries that, to my mind, reflect a shortage of skilled people. You should see what we were paying geologists and engineers in consulting companies in Vancouver last year. Enough to make you wonder why anybody works for a salary on a mine instead of for a consultant; or in the head-offices of the mining group. I mean, I heard of umpteen newly graduated mining engineers and geologist getting starting salaries of over $100K last year. Is this just the hype of their boastful professors?
Trouble is the above are averages. Here are numbers for the same job categories. This time however, the first number is for industrial mineral mine and the second number is for metal mines.
- General Manager = $111/159
- Mine Manager = $88/126
- Mill Superintendant = $76/102
- Chief Engineer = $76/102
- Mine Engineer = $ 60/66
- Metallurgist = $NA/80
- Mine Geologist = $71/59
- Health and Safety Coordinator = $67/69
- Accountant = $57/64
- Secretary = $31/38
At least the General Manager and the secretary get more on metal mines than on industrial mineral mines. For the rest the old geologist is badly done by again. I find it hard to believe a geologist at the local quarry makes more than the geologist at a metal mine. Maybe too many geologist who do not want to live in town. Or is this the California effect—there are only industrial mineral mines in California—no metal mines to speak off—and you need to pay those California geologists a good sum?
Here are the numbers for the average salary of the Mine Geologist by type of mine:
- Precious Metal = $62K
- Copper = $59K
- Other Metal = $51K
- Limestone = $ 61K
- Aggregate = $56
- Other Industrial Mineral = $90K
Not much support for the California geologist theory; but where are those Other Industrial Mineral Mines. Is it so hard for geologists to find other industrial minerals? Must be.
No numbers; you will just have to believe me; or get a copy of the report. But the folk working for union mines make a lot more than folk at non-union mines. The folk at big mines make more than folk at small mines. Consider the Secretary who earns an average of $30,500 at a small mine and $38,400 at a large mine.
Of course about fifty percent of people earn more than the average. Here are some salaries at a big (more than 500 people) mine in the Rocky Mountain area.
- Plant Manager = $177K
- Mine Manager = $130K
- Manager, Financial Services = $120K
- Senior Engineer = $105K
- Geologist = $95K
- Superintendent, Geotec and Hydrology = $94.
- Senior Engineer , Mine Planning = $87K
- Assistant – Administrative = $46K
Now that is a mine to go work at. In the Rockies and a reasonable salary. Any rate, hope your salary is comparable in these lean times of 2009.