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Learn about mining with online courses and programs

Mined materials help power our technology, build our infrastructure, and facilitate the construction of our homes and cars. Through the mining process, resources such as coal and gold are extracted from the earth. Learn about mining with courses on edX.

What is mining?

Mining is the process of extracting useful natural resources from the earth and oceans. The materials are then refined to remove any unwanted or unnecessary components, leaving only the most usable. Some of the more common natural resources and their uses include:Footnote 1

  • Aluminum is used in aircraft construction, consumer electronics, and building materials.

  • Copper can be used on its own in electronic wiring and transportation equipment, or combined with other elements to create alloys.

  • Gold is popularly used for making jewelry, as well as electronics components such as connectors, switches, and soldered joints.

  • Iron ore is used in the production of magnets, auto parts, paints and printing inks, plastics, and cosmetics.

There are also concerns about the environmental impact of mining. Balancing the need for mined resources with the treatment of land and surrounding areas is important for miners and the organizations they supply.Footnote 2

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Mining course curriculum

Do you want to be part of the mining supply chain? Whether you’ve set your sights on working close to the mining itself, or you plan to work with mined materials, it can help to first learn the basics. An introductory mining course may cover topics such as:

  • The discovery, exploration, research, analysis, and planning phases of the mining process

  • Various ways of funding a mining project, including equity, debt, or participation funding

  • The people, industries, and organizations directly and indirectly linked to the mining business

  • The mining value-chain stages and the opportunities presented by each one

From there, you may decide to move on to more intermediate coursework that discusses issues of leadership, diversity, and sustainability within the framework of the mining industry. These topics can all help to supplement your understanding of how mining works, while providing a greater context around specific concerns.

If you’re unsure of where to start, edX offers a variety of educational options to fit your goals and lifestyle. New learners may find that a bachelor’s degree program is the right step for your career, while current professionals can explore executive education programs and accelerated boot camps that can be completed while working. For learners looking to advance beyond their existing bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree program can help you gain the professional edge you’re looking for.

Explore jobs related to mining

Once you start to learn about mining and the industries it serves, you may begin to wonder where you can fit into the process. Perhaps you want to assist in the location and planning of the actual extraction, or maybe you want to use the final refined materials to build consumer products.

From technology and manufacturing, to the construction and automotive industries, there are many roles available for individuals interested in jobs related to mining. These include:

  • Geoscientist: conducts research on the materials that make up the earth. They can use their skills to help locate mineral deposits and determine the composition of collected samples.Footnote 3

  • Geological engineer: is responsible for determining extraction locations. They can use their skills to evaluate and identify environmentally friendly methods that will be used in the process.Footnote 4

  • Industrial designer: is involved in a variety of manufacturing processes. They can use their mining skills to select the proper materials that will meet product specifications and budget requirements.Footnote 5

  • Gemologist: uses their knowledge of mined minerals to determine the value of precious stones extracted through mining and other processes. They can use their knowledge of mining to ensure proper gem quality and pricing.Footnote 6

  • Environmental scientist: collects and interprets data from environmental samples to identify threats and valuable findings. They can use their skills to ensure that mining projects are not harmful to surrounding environments.Footnote 7

  • Automotive engineer: is responsible for vehicle performance, appearance, and technology. They may use their knowledge of mined materials to determine cost-effective, efficient ways to enhance the automobile manufacturing process.Footnote 8

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. Some employers may seek candidates with a degree in engineering, and may even require additional certifications depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.