So how does the process engineer integrate into the mining setting?? How do chemical engineers find themselves playing an integral role?? Where do they come in exactly? What do they do there?? Are they even necessary in that setting? Well..read along, and find out!
Most metals exist, as compounds with other elements in the Earth's crust, or on the sea bed. This is because conditions are suitable for reaction with other elements to form these compounds. A few will be found in their native form - because these are relatively nonreactive or virtually un-reactive. Metals, like your gold, will occur in nature in their native form - because it is non reactive. This is why you want your wedding ring to be golden.. or at least gold platted. Because you are assured it will still be shiny by the time you fourth daughter becomes a grandma! Look at any tin can to understand why tin is not really your best bet! However, for the elements that occur in compound form you need them in their pure state before you can manipulate them. Even your unreactive gold is most probably going to be inter woven within different compounds as well. Enter TCE!
Process Engineers are therefore the work horses that design or run the plants, or processing facilities that are used for extraction of these metals or elements out of the earth onto your fingers! Well not really but yeah you get the logic! ChemEngineers exploit metal and ore characteristics, extraction technologies, environmental factors and a host of other parameters to extract that gold from its locked compounded form, purify it, and hand it over to the jewelers - or your SONY, Samsung and Phillips (yes there's a bit of gold in your electronic gadgets!). Again this is not a stand alone industry. Geological surveys are conducted by geologists, mining is in consultation with mineral engineers, environment engineers, safety engineers etc, processing with metallurgists, economics with the accountants, and economists - all these working in unison to make sure she gets the perfect ring for that special day!
Needless to say, all their designs, innovations and developments should not come at a cost to the nation - environmentally. Sustainable development can never be over emphasized. Which is why the fraternity has taken an active role in recycling and finding uses for its waste. Extracting value out of mineral processing waste, and making more efficient processes are just some of the research focus areas that engineering has taken to make sure that global development from mineral processing does not leave a damaging environmental trail.
Do you know some place else where chemical engineers come in within the mineral extraction chain.Why don't you ask away in the comments section. or add, correct, disagree, or agree. because at the end of the day it is out of that conversation that we grow in knowledge.you and me together! Stay blessed and keep believing...:) !