Mill Operator

A specialist in overseeing the milling, classification, separation, and screening of materials at the milling plant.

History of the Profession

This profession came into existence with the development of the iron-ore beneficiation technology, which allows for the processing of ore with a lower iron content. The milling-grade ore is first milled in the plant to the size of micro-particles, before various methods of beneficiation divide the ore into particles containing useful material and waste rock. The principles behind the milling process were discovered at the beginning of the 18th century; however, the invention of various milling equipment and its widespread industrial application did not occur until the 20th century. At that point the profession of mill operator evolved.

The Mill Operator Today

The mill operator is one of the leading and best-paid roles in Metalloinvest beneficiation plants, where iron-ore concentrate is produced. The concentrate is a product, as well as the raw material for the production of pellets. The process of milling the raw material greatly impacts on the quality of the concentrate. The mill operator oversees the functioning of the milling equipment, the classification, and the parameters for the worked ore. These specialists control the input of materials and ore into the mill, service and oversee the functioning of the mill and ancillary machinery, as well as the quality and quantity of product. Only men are taken on in the role of mill operator. It is a shift work.

Knowledge and Skills

Attainment of the qualification of multi-skilled beneficiation worker and attendance at refresher courses are necessary prerequisites for becoming a mill operator. As a rule, employees work their way through the entire chain of roles in the technological division of the beneficiation plant before becoming a mill operator. The mill operator must understand the technological process and equipment, be able to analyse a situation and independently make decisions toeliminate equipment faults, as well as make adjustments to the milling process to improve the quality of the product.

Personal Qualities

A great deal of responsibility comes with the position of mill operator. For this reason, professional knowledge and a certain set of personal qualities are crucial to this role. A technological mindset, the skill to promptly make decisions, including in extraordinary situations, integrity, discipline, and a sense of responsibility are valued attributes of a mill operator.


The mastery of the profession of mill operator presents a wide range of career advancement opportunities to the specialist. The first of these will be the promotion to foreman. The possession of organisational skills, leadership qualities, and a higher education qualification presents the opportunity to become a high-level manager, including head of a plant department or head engineer of a sub-division.

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