Professional Masters

*Program is pending Higher Learning Commission (HLC) approval.

Program Description

The Professional Masters – Mining Engineering and Management (PM-MEM) is a new degree program focused on the practical application of technical, financial, management, and other linked disciplines that make up the mining industry today.  It was developed on the premise that in addition to technical capacity, future mining industry leaders will need to:

  • Identify and mitigate mining related risks and elect when to make decisions with uncertain and incomplete information.
  • Incorporate best practices and invest in new mining technologies that will bring the highest benefits.
  • Communicate, work, and lead teams to solve complex problems requiring many domains of expertise.
  • Build effective reciprocal relationships with local communities.
  • Integrate social, environmental, health, safety, security, and life-of-mine considerations into sustainable decisions for the mining industry.

As managers advance to the executive level, they must be technically competent and able to non-disruptively implement new ideas and technologies.  They also need a solid working knowledge of business, finance, management, and a host of other disciplines.  The Professional Masters – Mining Engineering and Management delivers this integrated blend of mine-related engineering and technology, mine support services, and mine-applied business and management; and will also include an independent project.  The courses will be taught by seasoned faculty from industry and academia who are experienced in day-to-day mine operations and management.

Each course will address the state of the practice, the risks and uncertainties, and the innovations and trends that will impact the mining industry in the future.  Every course will also address the use of information systems to organize and use the huge amounts of data that is generated, and how best to integrate those inextricably-linked disciplines like social and environmental responsibility, occupational and community health and safety, project security, water and waste management, internal and external communications, and life-cycle planning through closure. The online delivery allows students to stay in their current positions, with no interruption in career development, so the skills they acquire while enrolled in the program can be immediately applied to the business. Employers may even opt to supply the scope of work for their employee’s independent project, thereby getting timely solutions to real mine challenges.

The PM-MEM takes two years to complete.  Each course is delivered over an 8-week period.  Courses are taken sequentially and continuously throughout the two-year program duration.  There is no break during the Summer semester.  The independent project is done concurrently with the latter part of the program, resulting in program completion at the end of the two-year period.

 

“This is a one-of-a-kind program that wraps the business and management elements into a mining engineering degree that emphasizes where the industry will be in the future instead of where it has been in the past”

Dr. Priscilla Nelson

Professor and Department Head

Mining Engineering 

 

Contact the Professional Masters Program

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Program Requirements

The PM-MEM is comprised of 12 courses and one independent project for a total of 33 credit hours. The duration of each course is 8 weeks, and courses are taken sequentially over a two-year period.  The independent project is done concurrent with the latter courses of the program. Students will take each course in the prescribed sequence as this allows the faculty member responsible for each course to be available to students through scheduled office hours throughout the 8-week course delivery.  Skipping courses or taking courses out of sequence is not advised.

Program Prerequisites

Admission into the PM-MEM program requires an undergraduate degree in some discipline of engineering and at least five years of experience in the mining sector.  The program will build on the student’s existing mining and engineering knowledge and broaden their perspectives regarding current and future mining best practices.  This will better prepare them for career advancement including roles in senior management with critical financial responsibility as well as technical leadership and innovation.

In accordance with Mines Graduate School admission guidelines, the PM-MEM program requires completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Mines will accept GRE scores from tests taken within the past five years. Likewise, the PM-MEM program requires documentation of English language proficiency, usually the TOEFL test, for all students whose native language is not English.  See Mines Graduate Application guidelines for details.

For specific information on prerequisites, students are encouraged to refer to a copy of the Mining Engineering Depart­ment’s Departmental Guidelines and Regulations for Graduate Students, available from the Mining Engineering Department.

Program Required Curriculum

The following table identifies the three topical areas addressed by the PM-MEM and the course titles, credit hours, and learning outcome summaries within each topical area.  The percentage weighting of the credit hours devoted to each topical area is also indicated.

Table 1: PM-MEM Required Curriculum and Learning Outcomes

Topical AreaCourse Title
(Credit Hours)
Learning Outcomes Summary
Mining Engineering
36% of Credits
Mine Design and Operation Planning (3)Combine mine life cycle and sustainability principles, mining fundamentals and future trends to better evaluate and optimize mine designs and mine operation plans.
Integrated Information and Mine Systems Management (3)Apply knowledge of increasing big data in mining and the increasing complexity of mine plant systems to better evaluate mining IT system designs and operations.
Geology and Mining (3)Integrate understanding of ore deposit geology, structure, resource assessment and geochemistry to better evaluate mining project designs and optimize operations.
Mineral Processing (3)Integrate knowledge of cost-efficient mineral process options matched to ore type fundamentals to better evaluate plant designs and optimize operations.
Mine Services
22% of Credits
Mine Health and Safety (2)Apply principles of providing a safe and healthy work environment including organizational culture and behavior management into everyday communications and decision making.
Mining Environmental and Social Responsibility (2)Integrate knowledge of environmental and corporate social responsibility opportunities and consequences into everyday communications and decision making.
Water Waste and Mine Closure (3)Apply knowledge of sustainable water usage, responsible waste disposal and the eventual mine closure and reclamation to decisions made in the course of mine/plant design and operations.
Mining Business and Management

36% of Credits
Mine Accounting (2)Apply mine accounting principles to evaluate accounting/financial statements, assess financial performance and other key performance indicators, and communicate effectively with accountants.
Mine Finance (2)Integrate knowledge of mine finance principles including potential sources of funding into mine project proposals as well as any mine finance obligations into operating decisions and communications.
Mineral Economics and Policy (2)Integrate knowledge of mineral economics and public policy into mining decisions, contingency planning and risk mitigation.
Project Management (3)Apply project management and leadership best practices, delivering fast low-cost results while maintaining environmental and social responsibility.
Mine Investment Evaluation (3)Apply mine investment principles and best practices to develop robust financial models for feasibility studies and project proposals.
Independent Project
6% of Credits
Independent Project (2)Demonstrate the knowledge obtained through the program with the successful completion of a relevant independent project.

The instruction of each course will incorporate the following crosscutting elements:

  • State of the practice (strengths and weaknesses)
  • Risk and uncertainty (threats)
  • Emerging technical trends (opportunities)
  • Data and information systems (management and evaluation)
  • Life-of-mine integration of linked disciplines (environmental, social, health, safety, security)

The inclusion and extent of the crosscutting elements will be appropriate for the subject matter in each course.

Program Course Descriptions

The catalog descriptions for the 12 courses and independent project follow:

MNGN 548  INTEGRATED INFORMATION AND MINE SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT (3 credit hours – Mining Engineering)

This course embraces the ever-increasing volume of data and information available in the mining sector as well as the growing complexity of future mine plant systems. Course emphasis will be on the future trends in the effective management and design of these integrated mine systems. Principal topics include: 1) systems engineering, 2) data management and sensors, 3) information systems and cyber security, 4) internet-of-things, 5) communications, 6) infrastructure, and 7) mine plant and asset management and condition monitoring.

MNGN 562  MINING ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (2 credit hours – Mine Services)

This course describes the fundamentals of, and to the extent relevant, the future trends of 1) the regulatory and administrative framework in the context of international industry good practice, 2) employee and community capacity building, 3) communication strategies and stakeholder engagement, 4) project screening and scoping, 5) the social and environmental impact assessment process, and 6) social and environmental management systems. Course emphasis will be on executing these fundamentals adequately and in a culturally appropriate manner and the risk to project continuity and corporate reputation if these fundamentals are mishandled. Sustainability and project life cycle aspects will be integrated throughout the course.

MNGN 563  WATER WASTE AND MINE CLOSURE (3 credit hours – Mine Services)

This course addresses three disciplines that are critically important to a successful and sustainable mining project. Beyond the ore deposit, water is essential for all mining projects. Supplies must be balanced among local and regional water users. Mining and processing waste typically require large storage areas for their disposal and often have the potential to adversely impact receiving surface water and groundwater resources. Closure and reclamation is one phase of the mine life cycle and constitutes a significant mitigating action and cost to mining projects. The course will address fundamentals and future trends, but significant emphasis will be placed on the environmental, social, and cost control risks. Topics covered include: 1) water supply, disposal and treatment, 2) site-wide water management, 3) mine waste rock management, 4) process waste and tailings management, 5) solid, hazardous and medical waste minimization, recycling and disposal, 6) closure design (conceptual to construction-ready), 7) surety estimation and available surety instruments, and 8) post-closure elements including monitoring, maintenance, retrenchment, close-out costs and surety release. The importance of effective water and waste management practices, as well as integrating closure planning techniques into engineering designs, will be stressed throughout the project life cycle.

MNGN 561  PROJECT MANAGEMENT (3 credit hours – Mining Business and Management)

This course addresses the many aspects of business and project management. As the business environment changes, mine managers and executives face competing pressures to deliver both profits and effective social, environmental and economic results. Leadership is a fundamental tool for the effective executive. While a solid base of technical and operational skills is required, they must also engage a workforce, build and retain employees and seize opportunities for growth and development. While the course will address future trends and risks, emphasis will be on the fundamentals of effective business and project management. Topics include: 1) behavioral management, 2) project planning and controls, 3) optimization, 4) business process improvement, 5) risk assessment techniques, 6) personnel management and career development and 7) conflict resolution. Because the leadership role is one that goes beyond the workplace, the course will explore the executive’s role in public communications, involvement with the community, and supporting sustainable investments.

MNGN 553  MINE DESIGN AND OPERATION PLANNING (3 credit hours – Mining Engineering)

This course provides an overview of mine design and operations fundamentals with a focus on the future trends which considers where the industry will be in the next decade(s). Topics give an over-arching significance to social, environmental, health and safety considerations in traditional design and operations decision-making. Principal topics will include 1) mining methods and planning, 2) production scheduling and optimization, 3) robotics and automation, 4) equipment capabilities and selection processes, 5) mine ventilation, 6) rock mechanics and ground control, and 7) waste disposal (high level, further addressed in Water, Waste and Closure course). Project life cycle and sustainability principles will be applied throughout the course content.

MNGN 547  GEOLOGY AND MINING (3 credit hours – Mining Engineering)

This course focuses on how the ore deposit geology, structure, resource assessment and geochemistry are inextricably linked to major project decisions and cost control regarding mining methods and water management. The course emphasizes fundamentals of exploration, geo-system characterization, and the risks associated with failure to integrate these aspects into decision-making. Major topics include: 1) ore genesis, 2) exploration methods, 3) geostatistics and resource development, 4) geologic hazards, 5) geochemistry and geo-environmental considerations, 6) groundwater (further addressed in Water, Waste and Closure course), and 7) geologic factors for consideration in mine design. The importance and cost efficiency of collecting and managing data concurrent with its generation will be emphasized.

MNGN 558  MINERAL PROCESSING (3 credit hours – Mining Engineering)

This course addresses the fundamentals for developing an appropriate and cost-efficient mineral process for a given ore type and the risks that factor into deploying the selected process. Consideration will be given for the need to demonstrate a proven and robust process to potential investors (a “bankable” process). Topics will include 1) unit operations and material handling, 2) sampling techniques specific to process considerations, 3) material testing and data organization and management, 4) water and energy considerations, 5) mill design and development (concept through construction), and 6) process waste disposal (high level, further addressed in Water, Waste and Closure course). Timing of process design within the project life cycle will be addressed.

MNGN 551  MINE ACCOUNTING (2 credit hours – Mining Business and Management)

This course describes the accounting principles directly applicable to the mining industry. It addresses the practical application of these principles to a level of detail appropriate for a manager or executive to understand the accounting elements of exploration, project development, operations, and accruals for future expenditures. Topics include: 1) accounting methods, 2) debit/credit offsets, 3) income statement and balance sheets, 4) cost accounting, and 5) accruals for major project modifications and expansions, future development and closure. Future trends and risks will be discussed, but course emphasis will be on accounting principle fundamentals and compliance with international accounting and sustainability guidelines. Accounting principles as they relate to mandatory corporate financial reporting will also be discussed.

MNGN 554  MINE FINANCE (2 credit hours – Mining Business and Management)

This course describes the finance principles applicable to the mining industry. It addresses the practical application of these principles to a level of detail appropriate for a manager or executive to understand what it takes to raise money in the international marketplace sufficient to finance a corporate entity and/or a specific mining project. Topics include: 1) multi-national, national and development bank finance, 2) project and corporate finance methods (debt/equity), 3) access to capital, 4) public offerings, 5) cash and asset management, and 6) auditing. Application of finance principles throughout the project life cycle is addressed as well as regulatory aspects, financial analysis, reporting and shareholder programs.

MNGN 555  MINE INVESTMENT EVALUATION (3 credit hours – Mining Business and Management)

This course discusses the elements, methods and analyses required to evaluate the viability and robustness of a mining project. Current practices for introducing the uncertain nature of most of the important variables in an investment analysis are addressed. While future trends and risks will be covered, course emphasis will be on the fundamentals of determining the feasibility of a project and the elements contained in a robust financial model to demonstrate that feasibility. Topics include: 1) laws and security exchange expectations for publicly disclosed documents, 2) feasibility study content, 3) responsibilities of the Qualified Person, 4) capital and operating cost estimation, 5) accruals and taxes, 6) financial analysis and cash flow modeling, 7) sensitivity analysis, and 8) public reporting.

MNGN 546  MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY (2 credit hours – Mine Services)

This course focuses on the principles of providing a safe and healthy work environment. Realigning long-learned human behaviors into a culture of safety and health consciousness is a significant management challenge, particularly in the developing world. The topics include: 1) organizational culture and behavior management, 2) strategic safety planning, 3) hazard recognition, 4) root cause analysis, 5) incident management and emergency preparedness, and 6) training programs. Learning emphasis will be balanced among fundamentals, future trends and risk depending on the specific discussion topic. The frequency of training and refresher programs throughout the project life cycle will be addressed. The importance of a health and safety culture transcending the workplace through mine employees into their families, neighbors and communities will also be discussed.

MNGN 557  MINERAL ECONOMICS AND POLICY (2 credit hours – Mining Business and Management)

This course describes economic and policy issues that are associated with the production and use of mineral commodities. Mine operators around the world continuously pursue technologies to help reduce cost and increase competitiveness. The marketplace into which those commodities are sold is a dynamic and integrated system that industry executives should understand. While future trends and risk will be discussed, the focus will be on economic and policy fundamentals, noting that good mineral deposits, while important, are only one of many factors affecting cost and the marketability of a commodity. Topics include: 1) commodity supply and demand, 2) markets and prices, 3) public policy and taxation, 4) commodity trading and competitive advantage, 5) mining and economic development, and 6) market power and competition. The relevance of market dynamics and policy is explored throughout the project life cycle. The implications of public perception, contributions to community good and market sustainability are explored.

MNGN XXX   INDEPENDENT PROJECT (2 credit hours)

Students will work with the faculty to conduct a relevant and approved project of interest. Real-world assignments provided by an industrial sponsor are encouraged.