What is Mining Surveying? Instruments used in Mining Surveying?

What is Mining Surveying? Instruments used in Mining Surveying

What is Mining Surveying?

Mining survey is the process of collecting data about the mineral resources present in a particular area. The data collected is used to make informed decisions about mining operations in the area.

Mining survey is an important part of the mining process. It helps companies to identify the locations where they can extract coal, oil or other minerals. The survey also determines how much of the mineral is available and how much it will cost to extract it.

Mine surveyors are responsible for accurately measuring and recording mine workings. They are essential to the design, planning, and safety of the surface and underground mining operations, which must be appropriately reflected on mine plans.

A mining survey must be carried out by a person who is qualified to carry out the survey and each participant in the survey must be a competent person.

Mining surveys help to ensure the safety of the workers and the quality of the mined product. A mining surveyor uses specialized equipment to create a map of the underground mine.

This map helps to identify any hazards and to plan the safest route for the miners. The surveyor also uses the map to track the progress of the miners and to ensure that the mine is being operated safely.

Mining Survey Instruments

The instruments used in Mining Survey are:


A galvanometer is a simple electrical instrument that measures small electric currents.

To make it work, the surveyor connects the galvanometer to a current-carrying conductor (live wire). The instrument measures any voltage drop between the ends of that conductor and records this on a dial.


An electroscope is another simple electric device, consisting of two thin wires of different metals connected to a battery.

When the device is placed near an electric current, the wires try to push away from one another. An instrument called a tangent galvanometer converts this movement into reading on a dial.


A monitor is a device that detects and records levels of airborne contaminants like dust and gases. It may also be used to measure noise levels in the workplace.

If necessary, the surveyor can use a monitor to determine if a worker has been exposed to any hazardous substances or conditions.

For example, if there are no gas detectors at a workplace, the surveyor may use a portable gas monitor to check for harmful gases around the site.

 Portable X-Ray Inspection System

The portable x-ray inspection system is used to check for internal defects in the structure of an underground mine.

It is usually a hand-held device that takes x-ray pictures through the object or material being inspected. (In some mines, it is mounted on a moving vehicle.)

Portable Radiation Survey Meter

The portable radiation survey meter can be used to measure levels of radiation exposure.

The surveyor can use it to check for radon gas, which is a radioactive gas that may be present in mines.

Push-Pull Testing

Push-pull testing is used to test the electrical circuits of machines and equipment.

The surveyor connects one wire from the push-pull tester to the item being tested and connects the other wire to an energized conductor (live wire). The tester measures the voltage drop between the two wires and records this on a dial.

Tracer Gas Meter

The tracer gas meter is used to detect oxygen-free air (freon, CO) in factory environment.

As it passes through an area of air, the surveyor can check for this compound gas that usually occurs at explosive levels and is used as an indicator of bad ventilation or cool-down conditions.

Tracer Gas Analyzer

The tracer gas analyzer is used to detect oxygen-free air (freon, CO) in an area of air.

The survey and mapping equipment and technologies in mining

They include, but are not limited to:

  1. For mining applications, slope-monitoring and ground-penetrating radar devices are used.
  2. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mining use
  3. Robotic crawlers with remote visual inspection cameras
  4. High-specification laser scanning devices on land, sea, and air, as well as 3D modeling
  5. Lidar and photogrammetric surveying equipment of the highest caliber
  6. Geophysical imaging instruments, as well as geotechnical measurements and surveying equipment
  7. Solutions for hyperspectral remote sensing and 3D seismic reflection
  8. Directional core drilling, as well as gyroscopic and magnetic borehole survey equipment, are available.
  9. Solutions for remote subterranean surveys, such as cavity monitoring aerial robots
  10. Solutions for mine stockpile and inventory measurement

Purpose of Mining Survey

They include:

  1. To identify the location of underground mines, tunnels, and other man-made excavations.
  2. To determine if the mine is being used without a permit or has been abandoned.
  3. To locate and estimate the extent of underground resources with respect to their volume and value (e.g., coal, gold).
  4. To locate mine shafts and rooms that may lead to safety hazards or other problems.
  5. To measure the number of harmful substances in the environment and mine products including water.
  6. To provide a basis for oxygen content, carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide levels, and production.
  7. To provide information on the location of underground workings to assist in designing ventilation systems or designing reinforcing structural elements (e.g., portals and archways) that are needed to support mining equipment moving above ground level, such as haul trucks and conveyors.
  8. To locate underground culverts and scour holes.
  9. To provide information on ore concentrations to help determine if a mine is profitable (e.g., an optimum location for exploitation).

Challenges in Mining Survey

The challenges in Mining Survey pose as a limitation. They include:

  1. The surveyor has to measure accurately because errors could cause many problems in the future.
  2. Computer data preparation and mapping are difficult tasks.
  3. The surveyor has to use good judgment when recording and reporting what they see to others at the surface who may not be familiar with mining.
  4. The survey is difficult and sometimes dangerous work.
  5. The surveyor has to work in dangerous environments without protection, such as in mines with methane gas.
  6. Surveyors may have to deal with safety problems and hazards like explosives or gas leaks.
  7. The surveyor may have to deal with hostile or uncooperative underground workers, the military, and other government agencies who may want information about the survey.
  8. The surveyor may have to deal with interfering people at the surface who want to stop the survey, such as people living near the site of an underground mine.
  9. The surveyor may have to deal with equipment or personnel problems, or loss of equipment or equipment failure due to accident, rough handling, and /or poor maintenance.

Benefits of Mining Survey

Some of the main benefits are:

  1. Surveying can greatly assist in the design and building of tunnels, mines, and other man-made excavations.
  2. Surveying may help to prevent cave-ins and help reduce fatalities in mines or tunnel collapses.
  3. Mining surveyors provide information that can help prevent environmental pollution from underground mine shafts and from the waste rock, which is removed from underground mines to expose the ore deposits.
  4. Mining surveyor’s data and mapping are used by mining companies to help plan mining activities, as well as for design, construction, and planning.
  5. Mining surveyors provide information that can help governments regulate industry activity, such as the amount of environmental pollution produced by the mining industry.
  6. Mining surveyors can provide information about underground structures that may damage buildings or structures below ground during quarrying (e.g., tunnels) or construction activities at sites above ground (e.g., mines).
  7. Mining surveyors provide information on safe areas for buildings, structures and people.
  8. Surveyors can provide information on underground mine and tunnel routes that may help rescue operations during an emergency.

The process of Mining Survey

The steps to be followed when conducting a mining survey are:

  1. Before a survey is started, an imaginary line is drawn on the ground to designate the start of the project.
  2. Equipment and equipment operators are prepared for work at the start of the survey area.
  3. Surveyors make initial observations from fixed positions within the survey area, such as on hills, ridges or poles to help accurately define that area or to help establish a baseline (the distance apart) by timing how far they move while surveying different locations within that area.
  4. After completing the initial observations and preliminary data collection, surveying crews move to various points in the survey area using hand-held instruments and/or equipment with wheels to collect more accurate data.
  5. Once the survey is completed, points are plotted on paper maps or entered into a computer system through a process called digitizing.
  6. Computer-aided drafting (CAD) software is used to make surveys and maps.
  7. The surveyors enter the data and make maps, or hand-correct paper maps from field notes to make them more accurate.
  8. Surveying crews often use their field notes and maps to prepare a drilling plan if surveying is being conducted on a mine site that requires explosives for blasting.
  9. The preceding steps are repeated at different locations within the survey area until all measurements are completed and recorded.
  10. Survey data is collected and checked for accuracy by both the surveyor and others.
  11. The data and maps are digitally stored, backed up, archived, or printed onto paper.
  12. The surveyors share the results of their surveys with others at the surface by making reports that include measurements, maps, and/or computer-aided design (CAD) drawings.
  13. The survey results are reviewed by a team to check the accuracy of their data and map, to determine if more surveys are needed if any maps need to be revised, and to make sure that maps and reports are presented in an accurate manner.
  14. Mining Surveyors do field comparisons between finished surveys and the field notes to check for accuracy using a process called verification.
  15. A survey is completed when the map, data, and maps are accurate, appropriate for the job and complete.

Mining Survey Techniques

 Topographical/Geodetic Surveying

This technique is based on two principles: that objects in nature are constant distance apart, and that lines (straight paths) connecting points are constant in length.

This technique requires measuring a few points at the start of a project to establish a baseline (distance between those points).

Magnetic Surveying

This technique measure distances as well as angles to establish a baseline and to measure distances on the ground.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys are often used in conjunction with other techniques such as magnetometry, and other data from surveying.


This technique measures the strength of magnetic fields that are in the surroundings of a survey point.

 Inclinometer Surveys

The inclinometer is an instrument that measures the angle of slopes of hills and other surfaces with respect to a horizontal plane, relative to gravity.

 Surveying by Observation

This technique is based on the principle that a surveyor can determine the distance between two survey points at the same elevation if he or she knows their positions in relation to landmarks

Example: a rise in a distance to a survey point, the top of a building, a tree, or  other object), and where the surveyor is located relative to those landmarks.

Field Methods of Mining Survey

  1. Manual Survey: This is the most traditional type of survey. Hand-held instruments, such as the engineering staff, transits, and levels, are used.
  2. Global Positioning Systems (GPS): An electronic surveying method that uses signals from satellites to calculate positions on Earth’s surface.
  3. Airborne Surveys: Instruments are suspended beneath an aircraft and triangulation points are measured relative to a known point on the ground or relative to a horizontal baseline established by other means.
  4. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR): An electromagnetic surveying technique that produces a two-dimensional image of subsurface objects.
  5. Laser Surveying: A technique used to determine depths and elevations of underground structures.
  6. Magnetic Surveying: A technique used to determine the locations of underground structures.
  7. Dynamic Magnetometry: A laboratory method which can be used in conjunction with magnetic surveys to determine the thickness of rock.
  8. Optical Surveying: A technique used to create a topographical image of subsurface objects by measuring the distance between optical light sources, at known distances away from the point being surveyed. Image results are then transferred onto a computer for analysis and processing.


How much do mine surveyors earn?

A mine surveyor earns an average of $90,000 a year.

How long does it take to become a mine surveyor?

It takes 3 years to complete an associate degree in Surveying and Mining, then 2 years of experience (internship) and the help of Mine Surveyors Certification Board (MSCB). It can also be completed in 4 years through the help of an online program.

What are the requirements to become a mine surveyor?

Mine surveyors must obtain an Associate Degree in Surveying and Mining. Then, Mine Surveyors must obtain experience in their field by interning with a mine operator, surveying an area on their own and working in an office.

After completing all 4 years of experience through the help of an online program, you will take the exam to become a Certified Mine Surveyor (CMS).

What is the difference between Mine Surveyor and Geologist?

The primary difference between the two is that Geologists do the analysis of mineral deposits and mining prospects, while Mine Surveyors are the individuals who actually run the surveys and set up camps or conduct subsurface experiments to locate mines.

What is the difference between Mine Surveyor and Driller?

The primary difference between the two is that Driller’s do the actual digging of mines, while Mine Surveyor’s set up survey camps.

What are some of the skills requirements to become a mine surveyor?

Mine surveyors must have a strong sense of accuracy, since they make measurements and determine locations of underground objects.

Mine surveyors must also have an excellent memory and a good understanding of mathematics.

In addition to these skills, Mine Surveyors should possess good communication, problem-solving and mathematical skills.

What is the difference between Mine Surveyor and Mining Engineer?

According to MSCB, a mining engineer identifies mining opportunities, designs mining operations and performs mine planning or mine design.

Mine surveyors work in the field for the mine operator, whereas engineers do their work in an office.

The primary difference between the two is that a Mine Surveyor’s primary job involves setting up survey camps and conducting subsurface surveys on underground mines.

A Mining Engineer’s primary job involves designing, testing and maintaining equipment and procedures.

What are the benefits of becoming a Mine Surveyor?

Mine surveyors are highly in demand because the industry is growing so much. For example, there is a shortage of mine surveyors in the United States and Canada, which means that it can be hard for people to find work.

In addition to this, an advantage of becoming a Mine Surveyor is that they can take part in different types of projects and conduct surveys at different places.

What is the History of Mining Survey?

The history of mine surveying may be traced back to the second century B.C., namely to ancient Rome. Mine works from that era have been preserved, proving not only the mining abilities, but also the surveyors’ talents, who were able to drive mine activities at the time.

What are the duties of a Mine Surveyor?

Mine surveyors must help to make sure that the area is safe before a mine opens.

They must help to determine the location of mine shafts and tunnels for mining.

Mine surveyors also make sure that the mining operation does not harm any nearby land or property, so they have to make any necessary changes if something happens.

For example: If a river is damaged by mining, Mine Surveyors would try to come up with ways to repair it and restore it back to its original state.

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