What's your job about?
Newmont Australia is a global gold mining company with gold mines in North and South America, Africa and Australia. I currently work as a Graduate Mine Geologist at the Newmont Tanami Operations which lies in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory just approximately 600km North-West of Alice Springs. My role is dominantly FIFO (Fly In/Fly Out) which means that I work on site for 8 days and earn 6 straight days off from Perth. I pretty much work almost half the year with this kind of roster! My role focusses on the managing diamond drill rigs (massive machines that drills into the earth to brings back up solid rock core), interpreting and analysing the rock core to determine the what type of rock it is and whether or not it hosts gold. Other tasks might including daily trips underground, visiting diamond drill rigs, mapping underground to find out firsthand where the rocks are located, use computer programs to visualise in 3D the size of the ore body. At the end of the day we are dominantly communicating with business partners on site and aiming to increase the reserves and resources that will be able to sustain the life of the mine.
What's your background?
I was born and raised in Western Sydney in NSW. I completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours), majoring in Geology and Geophysics at Macquarie University in 2012. During that time, I undertook a few secondments with a local geophysical contracting company where I worked as a geophysical operator traveling across central and Western NSW. I worked in some of Australia’s harshest environments dealing with fields of prickly thistles and walking and climbing across hilly and mountainous terrains. I then purchased a one way ticket to Perth, WA in 2013 in the hope of finding work in the mines. However, the bust was coming upon the mining industry and I took the initiative to undertake a Masters of Geoscience at The University of Western Australia where I completed a project that looked at the mineral prospectivity of the Eastern Kimberly. I spent some time in Halls Creek and Kununurra sampling rocks and seeing the vast terrains of the region. After completing the degree, the industry still had not picked up so I packed up all my stuff and bought a one way train ticket in mid-2015 to Kalgoorlie where I started out working as an Exploration Field Technician as a contractor and then made full-time as an Open Pit Technician for Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) for 1.5 years. It was my first taste in a proper mining environment where I was eager to learn and engage with fellow geologists. Not only did I have the opportunity to work in one of the world’s biggest gold mine but I had to opportunity to learn from various areas of mining which was advantageous for my own development. I was then offered a Newmont Graduate Position in 2017 where I worked as a Graduate Exploration Geologist at the Mt Charlotte site at KCGM for a year. The role dealt with logging grade control and inventory core across the Mt Charlotte ore deposit, scientific report writing, laboratory visits and audits, underground visits, communicating scientific knowledge and geological computer modelling. In 2018, I am now working at the Newmont Tanami Operations.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
If you want to escape an office job, explore parts of Australia or even the world and want to know how the planet Earth works, then the answer is Yes! The skills one should have is to be able to communicate clearly with others, be able to work in both a team and as an independently, be able to move around places easily (from site to site or even another state or country!), getting used to being dirty, acclimatising to different environments at each site and most of all looking at many different rocks!
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Perhaps going underground and seeing the various underground trucks, jumbos and boggers. It’s definitely a different world working underground. It’s dark, humid, sometimes noisy, ominous and constantly changing environment from mining. Also, finding visible gold in the core is always exciting because we know that there is ore in a part of a mine that has not yet been mined.
What are the limitations of your job?
I reckon the roster of being on site for 8 days in a row but then it ends up being great when I have my 6 days off in a row. So I am not complaining. However, being away and isolated from family and friends for 8 days straight is probably the hardest. The site I work at ends up being my second home and the team I work with are my second family. We have a great relationship and ends up being very fun everyday on site. Also, we have full Telstra coverage on site so we can easily communicate home.
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