What they do
Metallurgists use their specialised knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of metals and minerals to extract them from their natural ores, and further refine them through processes such as casting or alloying. Some metallurgists specialise in research to develop new, efficient processes that are economically viable.
Metallurgists may work in a variety of locations, including offices, laboratories, mine sites and metal refineries. In some instances, metallurgists may have to work at heights or in confined spaces to collect samples. Metallurgists working at mine sites may be required to live on site away from home or work on a fly-in, fly-out basis, which involves working on site for a period of time and then returning home for a break.
Metallurgists must abide by strict safety procedures to minimise risks when working with chemicals and high temperatures.
Tools and technologies
Metallurgists use a range of specialised machinery and equipment to collect and analyse samples of ore, minerals and metals. They may also use standard scientific and laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and measuring devices. Because they frequently use furnaces, chemicals and other potentially hazardous equipment they must also wear appropriate safety clothing.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a metallurgist, you usually need to study a degree in science, majoring in extractive metallurgy or mineral science. Alternatively, you can study a degree in engineering, majoring in metallurgical engineering.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.