What's your job about?
AngloGold Ashanti is the world’s 3rd largest producer of gold. We have mine sites in 9 countries, across 4 continents. I work at the Tropicana Gold Mine, roughly 300km north-east of Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia. I currently work in the Brownfields Exploration department, where our main job is to search for nearby gold deposits around the Tropicana mine site. My areas of responsibility typically include making sure the exploration drill crew are moving throughout the drilling programme as planned and to observe and log the core/samples we get from the drill rig.
My role changes depending on what exploration programmes are being completed. At the moment we’re completing Aircore drilling, where we are based out of remote exploration camps. These can be anywhere up to 4 hours away from the mine site. We sleep in tents and have our meetings around a campfire. During the day I follow the drill rig around and log the samples as they drill them. When the hole gets deep enough, you either end the hole or ask them to hammer through, if the fresh rock has encouraging indicators for gold mineralisation. The geological logging is imported to the database for use in modelling and mapping the area. At the end of the day (around 5 pm, but there is no set time) you drive back to camp and send an email to those on-site which summarises your day, prepare the meeting for the next morning, and draw cross-sections of the holes that were drilled that day. When everything is done, relax and sit at the fire with the drillers.
What's your background?
I was born in NSW but grew up mostly in Townsville.
Going to university in Townsville was a turning point for me, as I was headed for a career in Zoology and Ecology until I took an elective class titled “Evolution of The Earth”, which was held by a very enthusiastic lecturer (Jan Huizenga) who is the main reason I majored in Geology.
How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you been doing it already?
I got this job through an online application process through the AngloGold Ashanti website, which was advertised on Seek.com. I started my online application while on my lunch break at the restaurant I worked at, and that night I happened to serve a Greenfields Exploration Geologist from the company, so that was good timing! I introduced myself to him and he encouraged me to go ahead with the application, which I finished after my shift at 11 pm that night. I have been a graduate at AGAA for 1.5 years now. I worked as an Exploration Field Assistant and also as a Pit Technician for 1 year before my current role within the Exploration team, where I have been for nearly 6 months.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Anyone with a degree in Geology and a good work ethic can do this job. You would have to be okay with working long days, often in really cold or hot environments, but if you’re enthusiastic about finding the next big gold deposit, it’s definitely worth it.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
One of the best parts of this role is having responsibility over my own daily tasks. Most days, I know what needs to be done, and I can generally go about my day as I please as long as I get it all done in time. I have plenty of autonomy, but I can always go to my co-workers or bosses when I need help. Working in a small team with the same goal is great too, as they’re always providing ideas or teaching me new things.
What are the limitations of your job?
Obviously to do this job you have to work a fly-in, fly-out roster (FIFO). My roster is 8 days on and 6 days off, which would not be ideal if you didn’t like flying or being away from home. Occasionally I miss family events, birthdays, etc. When you’re home you get a nice break, but everyone else works at Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm job, so it’s not always super easy to catch up with friends on your break.
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