What's your background?
I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia in the northern suburbs right near the beach. I attended Sacred Heart College in my high school years located in the northern suburbs of Perth in Sorrento. After school I started a diploma in civil engineering at Central TAFE, and upon completion I started civil engineering at Curtin University. After doing a few surveying units it was clear that I had a real passion for surveying more so than civil engineering so I moved into mine and engineering surveying, as I wanted to get into mining but still had an interest in the civil engineering side of surveying. For my final year of my degree I was required to move to Kalgoorlie and study at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM). However I found I couldn’t get a job in the mining industry as times were tough; so I continued my studies and did an honours year of my degree in 2016.
During that year I applied and was successful in a graduate surveyor role with Newmont Mining Corp starting 2017. My first fulltime position in mining was at the Newmont Tanami Operations, an underground gold mine in Australia’s Northern Territory where I was a first year graduate starting my mining career. Since then I worked at Tanami for 12 months and then did a site rotation as all Newmont graduates do, to get a broader experience within the company. My site rotation took me to Newmont’s open pit gold mine in Boddington, the Boddington Gold Mine. Since then (2018) I am currently working here as a graduate surveyor and I have also just started my post graduate studies in mine engineering part time and fully online while I work.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, someone most certainly could, assuming they have the right skill set. To be more specific to my current role, surveying itself is the measurement and mapping of our surrounding environment using mathematics, specialised technology and equipment. Surveyor’s measure just about anything and a key fundamental needed for being a surveyor is a distinguished mathematical familiarity, if your mathematical skills are poor it probably isn’t the best career choice. That will cover the technical side of the job but strong communication and liaising with other teams is imperative. In terms of mining, you will need; the motivation to work long days in places far away from loved ones in environments that can be very dangerous and harsh where you might be put out of your comfort zone and still have to perform at a high level. If all of that ticks your boxes as an exciting challenge then yes, you could do mine surveying as a career assuming you attain the relevant skills and education, accompanied with a good work ethic.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
There are two things that make mine surveying really cool and an awesome career. Firstly, the technology, as surveyors you will be exposed to top of the line equipment. This first class equipment ranges from Total Stations, GPS’s, Digital Levels, UAVs (drones), Laser Scanners and the list could go on and on. The second thing I believe makes surveying such an awesome career is the versatility. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t know if I want to work in an office or out in the field, therefore, surveying was perfect for me as I spend time in both which really appeals to me.
What are the limitations of your job?
The biggest issue a lot of people would encounter would be working away, your roster can be 5/2, 8/6 (days on/days off) or 2/1, 3/1, 4/1 (weeks on/weeks off). Being away from family, friends and partners can be tough and a lot of people don’t cope being away from loved ones or young families, or younger people struggle being away from all the action, FOMO (fear of missing out). A lot of people choose an 8/6 roster for less pay as the time away can be tough and shorter swings make it more manageable and personally, more enjoyable. The other concern I would raise is long days, if you’re not prepared to do minimum 12 hour days plus extra while being away from everyone, mining probably isn’t for you.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...