Environmental Engineer

Environmental Engineers use the principles of engineering, biology, soil science and chemistry to investigate and develop solutions to various mining related environmental problems. They will address various issues such as recycling, water and air pollution control and waste disposal.

Typical Duties

  • Environmental Engineers are responsible for identifying, implementing and managing procedures and measures in order to protect and restore the natural environment
  • Environmental Engineers will be responsible for evaluating the potential that new engineering projects may have and find ways in which the impact can be lessened or how the environment can be restored at the end of the project
  • Environmental Engineers are also responsible for coming up with ways to remove any pollution, to preserve the soil and water etc
  • They may also be involved in the designing of waste management systems
  • They will develop remediation measures for environmental degradation
  • They will also prepare environmental impact studies
  • Problems relating to water, air pollution control, and waste disposal and recycling are increasing and are now high on the agendas of governments and many businesses worldwide. Because of this the need for expertise in this field will continue to grow

Working Conditions

  • Environmental engineers will spend a fair amount of time in the field, but will also spend time in the office and in laboratories
  • If working in mining, they can typically find themselves managing pollution control systems and rehabilitating old used mine sites
  • Many of these areas are in remote locations where they can be exposed to extreme weather conditions and may have to wear protective clothing and safety glasses to protect themselves from chemicals and other pollutants

Educational Requirements

  • Students interested in a career in environmental engineering should consider taking subjects such as chemistry, biology, physics and maths in order to have the best chance of being accepted
  • Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. This would typically take 4 years and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies
  • There are also universities that offer programs where students can gain practical experience at the same time as studying
  • Should you want to complete your masters this will take an extra year or two, depending on where in the world you are based

Personal Attributes

  • Enjoy working with math, science and computers
  • Must enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Be able to embrace new techniques and technologies
  • Be able to work under pressure
  • Have a good work ethic and be goal oriented
  • Be able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Have a sense of adventure and be able to spend extended periods of time away from home
  • Have a passion and love for the environment and conservation


  • Environmental Engineers salaries vary tremendously depending on what region they are working in, what industry and in terms of how much experience they have
  • There are factors that also come into play, such as what company they work for, whether the position is FIFO, and whether they are in a permanent position or a contract
  • Environmental Engineers working in the mining industry as whole will earn a very competitive salary


  • Find out more about salaries here.

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