Burton I. Collings was a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers and Manager of the Baar Robertson Gold Mine in British Guiana before coming to South Africa. After his arrival he first worked as assistant to Gustav A. Troye*, who was then a consulting engineer in Johannesburg, and later independently as a consulting mining engineer in that city.
Collings became a member of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa in 1903 and contributed a paper on "The auditing of ore reserves" to its Journal (1904/5, Vol. 5). In September 1908 he read a paper on "Small mines of Rhodesia", which was also published in the society's Journal (Vol. 9, pp. 76-). By 1906 he had joined the Geological Society of South Africa and in 1909 participated in the discussion of a paper by R.B. Young* on the auriferous conglomerates of the Witwatersrand and the origin of the gold. He was still a member of the society in 1915.
Collings was elected as a member of the Legislative Council (later the Legislative Assenbly) of Southern Rhodesia in 1914 and in 1924, representing the constituency Hartley (now Cheautu, some 100 km southwest of Harare). In April 1905 he married Emily F. Loram in Pietermaritzburg. At his death in 1930 he was survived by her and two children.