Geology is the study of the earth's crust and its rock formations, and includes classifying and mapping of the composition and distribution of mineral deposits contained in the earth's formations. In the mining industry, this knowledge is applied to find additional mineral resources and to upgrade existing resources.
Geologists operate in wide areas. Two of these, mining geology and exploration geology, are vital to the mining industry.
- Mining geologists ensure that the minerals are efficiently extracted from the deposit for maximum profit.
- Exploration geologists locate deposits of important minerals and determine whether the quantities are large enough to make mining economically viable.
Most of the geologists employed by Impala are mining geologists although there are a number of exploration geologists. Mining and exploration geologists have different responsibilities and are involved in different job activities.
A mining geologist's activities include mapping, recording and compiling geological data in and around the mine. This provides the mining engineer with details of the location, structure and distribution of ore in a deposit. Furthermore, the mining geologist delineates the ore reserves on which the mine's life depends, using geoscientific techniques to predict the grade and structure of ore bodies in unknown areas. The mine geologist plays a crucial role in the optimisation of the ore body and is intimately involved in the mine planning process.
What you should study
Those of you who are more academically inclined and want to study at university, can study towards a BSc (Hons) in geology, a four-year, full time course. This will enable you to work as a geologist and to register as a professional scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientists. You will need to pass a medical fitness test, undergo a psychometric assessment and attend an interview.