Just received from CostMine (a division of InfoMine) the survey of 2009 US Coal Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.Thus I focus on numbers that interest me and which I trust will interest you. In this posting, I focus on salaries. In future postings I will comment on wages and executive compensation. And if you want more, you will probably have toget your employer to get the survey and enable you to examine it.

First some averages, namely the average annual salary in $1000s (K):

  • General Manager 167
  • Mine Manager 123
  • Mine Foreman 84
  • Shift Boss 94
  • Chief Engineer 106
  • Mine Engineer 78
  • Chief Geologist 95
  • Chemist 77
  • Environmental Coordinator 80
  • Secretary 38

You earn more if you work in an underground coal mine than in a surface coal mine. Some examples:

  • General Manager 194 vs 159
  • Chief Engineer 112 vs 102
  • Chemist 91 vs 70
  • Secretary 37 vs 37 The only oneto earn the same regardless of where the coal resides - but that make sense as this is an office position.

Where you work also makes a difference. It is hard to discern a pattern of salary differentials from the eastern region to the central region to the southwestern to the northwestern region into which the survey divides the country’s coal mines. Two examples, by regions as just listed.

  • Mine Superintendent: 127, 99, 106, 120
  • Mine Geologist: 81, 91, 68, 75

Makes you wonder why people are not moving from place to place where the salary is higher?

On a personal note, as an engineer, it is good to see that the accountant, on average earns less than the engineers, geologists, and environmental coordinators on US coal mines. Maybe it is different in head office or in the consultants office. I hope not.

Surprisingly the Personnel Officers on US coal mines do pretty well, earning more ($101K) than most engineers and geologists. Must be a more stressful job than I ever imagined. I even found one mine in the eastern region where the Personnel Manager makes $150K per year. Must be a tough bunch of folk they are personnel managing there.

Of course not all salaries are this high. I found a Coal Prep Technician in the central region earning only $27K a year; an Expediter(not sure what that is though) getting $25K; and an Administrative Assistant at $29K.

I hope these few examples help you gauge the equity of your wage. Let me know if I can help you get closer to your specifics.

Finally, in all humbleness, let me express my condolences to and empathy with those affected by recent US coal mine accidents. No salary, wage, or compensation can make up for the losses.

For more details, please see the survey.