The final day of the conference Paste 2014 in Vancouver today. The keynote was about filter pressed tailings management at Pogo in Alaska. Too complex to blog about, but worth reading the paper and looking at the PowerPoint presentation when they available on InfoMine.
Easier, and more interesting, to blog about is the question of what the conference delegates earn. To judge they are all doing well. Good clothes, expensive restaurants, long trips around BC after the conference, many wives coming to town with their men, and all with lots of work. To judge by my conversations, the industry is booming and their work load heavy. Or is it just that the successful are able to travel and attend conferences?
An old professor once told me: “Ask only those too busy to do it, to help you and to do it. They are busy because they know how to do it and get it done—thus they are in demand and too busy to do it for you.” I chatted with nobody at the conference who was not too busy to do it. Yet we indulged in even more work during the breaks and drinking in the evenings.
So to salaries. At the InfoMine booth was a handout listing salaries for mining geoscientists. Here are some salaries in the USA (in thousands of dollars):
- Geology consultant = 119
- Geotechnical engineer = 119
- Exploration manager = 117
- Project geologist = 82
- Mine geologist = 75
- Mining engineer = 85
- Civil engineer = 84
- Mechanical engineer = 81
- Production engineer = 79
- Engineer in Training = 74
I do not know how CareerMine got theses salaries. Maybe that quiz they have on their site. But I am glad to see geotechnical engineers (I am one) earn so much–we deserve it. I guess many at the conference are geotechnical engineers, for that is what you need to do paste and tailings.
The number that interest me is the $74,000 a year for engineer in training. That means folk with less than three years out of university are earning, on average, a pretty good salary.
A contrary opinion was offered to me by a friend who is earning, I suspect, well over $250,000 a year–he is a very senior consultant to the mining industry. His comment: “Seems the salaries are low. I don’t believe this list. And if they are correct, the average is being paid a lot less than other professionals such as those in finance, law, and all the rest.”
I reminded him that he hob-nobs with successful lawyers etc. He seldom deals with second-rate engineers. He talks to the top folk in the mining companies. Maybe he has a distorted perspective from his lofty perch? Maybe he deals only with the $150,000 a year and more folk in mining. He conceded the point.
Take a look at these number and let me know what you think. Thanks.