My alarm rings and I immediately hit snooze. I require a bit more time to gather the mental fortitude to get out of bed!
My second alarm goes off after a small sleep-in, I get ready for the day ahead, changing into my high-vis in my ‘Donga’ and head to the mess for breakfast.
The mess at camp has pretty much everything you could need for a hearty breakfast to start the day. Poached eggs with crispy bacon and some grilled tomatoes? Just head straight to the hot section. Fancy some muesli and yogurt? Got you covered in the cold section. Into more of a light breakfast, no issue at all, there is always fruit salad available.
After breakfast is done, I head to the ‘Cold Crib’ area of the mess. This is where all the refrigerated food is kept for you to take to work. A wide variety of colds meats, salad, fruit and other condiments are available to keep things different throughout the week!
After heading back to my room and brushing my teeth, it is time to head to work. I stroll to the bus area and get on the bus heading to the mine for the day. It’s a 10 minute bus trip so perfect for a tactical nap!
I arrive at the mine site and swipe in through turnstiles after taking an alcohol test. Mandatory alcohol tests are required each day, depending on the mine, to ensure everyone is fit for work and so no lives are unnecessarily placed in danger due to the heavy machinery used.
Once on site, I head to my desk, drop off my bag and then head to the morning’s pre-start.
Every mine has a daily pre-start for every crew where the supervisors run through what has occurred in the last 12 hrs with the operators, what will be happening his shift and everyone’s respective roles while listing any hazards that are present in certain work areas.
After the pre-start meeting, the engineer’s head out into the mine with the Supervisor or Production Coordinators to see the various work areas. This allows the engineers to see how the mine is tracking against the schedule and if there are any issues that production are facing that we can assist with or will soon face in the coming weeks. A pit tour can range from 1 hr to 3 hr depending on the size of the mine.
Pit tour finishes at ~9.20 and then I head straight to the ‘Daily Production Meeting’. This meeting is chaired by Operations who run through the past 24hrs safety and production performance and the next 24hrs maintenance schedule and priorities.
By this time I am mentally well over due for a coffee and I head straight for the beans.
After getting updated with what has occurred at the mine on nightshift or over the weekend, I make any adjustments to future designs if required. If there are no major changes, I continue on with my work which is to provide guidance and short-term designs for the next mining areas.
In Open Cut mining, Mine Planning can be divided into three main disciplines which include Scheduling, Drill & Blast and Truck & Shovel. Different commodities and companies have slightly different structures to their teams.
It is that time of day to recharge the batteries. I head to the common area with a few other engineers to take lunch. Depending upon the workload, lunch can be taken at the desk. Once lunch is over, back to designing!
In the afternoon, Mine Planning presents the ‘Mine Plan’ for the next 3 months to Operations and other key stakeholders, which could include Geology, Survey and Maintenance. The ‘Mine Plan’ and its sequencing is reviewed, with improvements and interactions raised and actioned to be resolved by the Mine Planning team.
After the Mine Planning meeting, we resolve any issues raised in the meeting. Once this is completed, back to design work and coordinating with Operations if they require any assistance or additional information in their current or future work areas.
That’s a wrap for today. Finish everything up which isn’t pressing or required for night shift and we head back to camp on the bus!
Once back at camp, I head back to my room, and change into something a bit more comfortable and then head to the mess for dinner. Just like lunch, there is an assortment of options available. If you don’t feel in the mood for what has been cooked, you can order steak, fish or chicken as well!
Depending on the night of the week, a few of us get together for a social activity which could include touch football, soccer or even just a few casual drinks.
So comes to the end of a productive day as a mining engineer, helping to fuel nation’s economic growth, and into bed!