An assayer is a scientific professional who analyzes minerals and ores for the purpose of identifying their properties. In some instances assayers must separate different ores and alloys from one another to determine the composition of each one. Some assayers specialize in a specific type of ore or metal such as gold or silver. Other assayers are generalists who are hired to determine whether a sample of a mineral or ore contains any precious metals. Assayers use various methods to test samples to determine their content. In some cases they apply chemical solutions under strict laboratory conditions. In other cases dry methods such as heat can lead to an accurate identification of the elements that are or are not present in the sample. Not only do they separate and identify the contents of sample but assayers are also capable of refining the elements that are present. Doing this makes it possible for them to determine for example how much gold or silver can be harvested from samples gathered in a particular area. Assayers are often employed full-time or as consultants by mining companies which want to determine whether undertaking a mining operation will be worthwhile. They may also work in laboratories at companies that conduct research on prospecting and mining. To aspire to this profession individuals usually have undergraduate degree in physics chemistry mathematics or geography along with some practical training. As of November 2010 mining professionals earned salaries that range from approximately $63000 to $92000.

Education Required: Bachelor's Degree
Avg Salary: $77500
High Salary: $92000
Low Salary: $63000
Tasks: Analyzes minerals and ores to determine their specific compositions.
Performs tests on minerals and ores in scientific settings and laboratories.
Determines how much of a mineral can be harvested from a mine or particular area.
Works for scientific laboratories, mining or prospecting companies.
Also Called: Scientist
Mining Professional
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