- You have to be mentally strong and physically tough to survive in this field.
- You’re often required to work in rural areas. This can be a perk for nature lovers, but also a challenge for those who seek urbane facilities.
- This job provides a good salary, high job security, great pension and decent flexible working hours.
- However, work-life balance is poor and you have to deal with labor tantrums and labor unions.
- You get a lot of benefits such as free accommodation, free medical facilities, free family vacation, scholarships for your children etc.
Name – Sudhanshu Shrivastava
Profession – Mining Engineer at Indian Coalfields Ltd
Age – 47 years
Gender – Male
City – Nagpur
Industry – Mining
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Nagpur, and have lived here my whole life. I completed my education here as well. My upbringing was in a joint family with lots of cousin brothers and sisters. I have two brothers and a sister. We all still meet at least once a year.
Who was the most influential figure in your life?
As a child, I was always eager to learn and looked up to my teachers a lot. My parents have been my guide throughout my life, and they have shaped me up the most.
Can you brief a little on your career summary?
I completed BE in Mining Engineering from Ramdeobaba College of Engineering. After my graduation, I was unemployed for almost nine months. Meanwhile, I’d worked as a marketing staff for an enterprise which offered information services known as “Dial&Ask”.
In 1993, I got a job in ICL and got posted in SECL (South-East Coalfields Ltd.) as a junior executive trainee (known as the E1 level)
During 1997, I was transferred to WCL (Western Coalfields Ltd.) as an Executive Officer (Level E2).
In 2015, I was promoted to Level E6 within the WCL region.
Which institutes are best for this kind of career?
The best college in India for Mining Engineering is ISM (Indian School of Mines), which is part of larger IITs group of Institutes.
What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?
The standard fee structure of IIT (ISM) is 3 to 4 lakhs INR for mining course of five years.
How does one enter the mining sector?
You can join as a Laborer, Diploma Holder or as an Engineer. Then you can appear for various exams to seek promotions.
When you join as a laborer, then also you can rise to higher levels after clearing in-department exams.
If you hold a Diploma in Mining, then after some experience in ICL, you can appear for level 1 exam and then level 2 exam to get promotions.
If you’ve joined ICL with a B.E degree, you’re only supposed to give level 2 exam to get a promotion.
There’s no restriction on the extent of promotion that one can get. Even a laborer can reach a high-level position, given he qualifies the in-department exams and works hard.
What is the range of salary in the mining industry?
Starting out — 50 to 60 K per month
5 years’ experience — 70 to 80K INR per month
10 years’ experience — 1 Lakh INR per month
15 years’ experience — 1.2 lakh INR per month
20+ years’ experience — 1.5 lakh INR per month
Please describe your work.
My work starts at 5 AM with phone calls where I have to coordinate, analyze, and take in reports of all the procedures going on, failed procedures, their causes, and inspection related details.
By 7:30 AM, I’m done with my tea and breakfast and then go to the mining area. Around 1 PM, I go to my office for paperwork and spend nearly 2 hours.
By 3 PM, I return home and have lunch and rest for some time.
By 5:30 PM, I reach the Mines for my second shift and stay there till 7:30 PM.
I return home by 8:00 PM, have my dinner at 9:30 PM and sleep by 10:00 PM.
What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider a career in mining?
- This job is primarily a field job around Mines, which are in the middle of the Natural surroundings. As I love Nature, I love being close to it even when I am on the job.
- The work hours are flexible, and you can adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Free medical facilities and travel concessions are available. Once in four years, you can travel anywhere in India and the cost will be borne by ICL.
- There’s high job security and great pension available.
- For employees living in ICL colonies, the accommodation is free. Water, electricity, and internet are also provided free.
- There are scholarships for your children who score well in their school and board exams. If your children are studying in IITs, their cost of education is borne by ICL.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering a career in the mining sector?
- The biggest challenge is that you have to live very far from cities and towns as Mining areas are generally in remote areas. So, you miss out on urbane facilities.
- As our job is to produce Coal, sometimes we have to work very long hours because bad weather conditions make mining difficult.
- Many a time, our workers and laborers are not educated. Dealing with them is difficult as we have problems making them see the importance of a particular instruction to be followed. Likewise, there are a lot of tantrums and union revolts taken out by such workers, which often delays production.
- Though the working hours are flexible to some extent, yet we have to live and work far from family as our work is in secluded areas. This leads to poor work-life balance.
What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?
As an employee in mining, I’d say there’s a lot that needs to be reviewed. All the procedures have to be taken out, performed and analyzed very carefully and in detail. Thus, you have to be able to interact and deal with people.
You should possess good knowledge about surveying and machine operation, and must be up to date with recent incidents around the mining area.
Also you have to be a bit of a psychologist, as often, the people working under you start slacking off due to their various issues. You have to be able to support them and your co-workers so as to keep up your work efficiency.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
No, I have spent enough time here to know I’m happy with my job. Maybe I would have given a different answer at some other stage of my life, but as of now, I’m happy.
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
A person who’s more nature-oriented with a lot of mental and physical energy to spend would be happy in this career.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
You have to be mentally strong and physically tough. It is recommended that if you can’t handle mental stress and heavy physical strain simultaneously, this might not be the best job for you.