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What is a mining engineer?

From jewelry and wind turbines to electronics and skyscrapers, the modern world depends on mining. Prepare to meet its 21st-century demands at one of only fourteen programs nationwide.

Extracting minerals at the least cost and lowest environmental impact, the highly automated field utilizes robots, unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced explosives, and simulation technology to provide the raw materials for industries ranging from automotive to aerospace.

With expertise in mine design and reclamation, ore reserve evaluation, and equipment selection, mining engineers also deal in areas of drilling, blasting, health and safety, operations, sales, and finance.

The department's industrial advisory board consists of executives from Peabody Energy, Kiewit Mining, Austin Powder, Barrick Gold, Newmont, Joy Global, Freeport-McMoRan, and Maptek, ensuring courses prepare graduates to meet industry needs. Students also have the opportunity to train with professional mine rescue teams a mile underground.


Average Starting Salary

  • Kiewit
  • Barrick Gold
  • Peabody Energy
  • Cloud Peak
  • Rio Tinto
  • BHP Billiton
  • Newmont Mining
  • Joy Global
  • US Steel
  • Lafarge
  • Freeport-McMoRan
  • Cargill


  • mineral extraction
  • construction
  • operations, project and environmental management
  • drilling, blasting
  • mine design
  • mine land reclamation
  • health and safety
  • geoscience modeling
  • rock engineering

Internships & Co-ops

75% of South Dakota Mines students gain real-world experience through internships, co-ops, and research at an average salary of over $22 an hour at 240 employers in 39 states, including Peabody Energy, Barrick Gold, and Freeport-McMoRan, the globe's largest gold producer. Students also conducted mining research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility through funding awarded by the RESPEC Undergraduate Research Grant Program.

Global Experiences

Mining Engineering students have recently worked in South America, South Africa, and Australia during summer internships and through industry organizations.