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AngloGold Ashanti Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Alexandra Kate Sunderman

4.00 AM

Time to wake up, get ready, head to the mess, have brekkie and grab my food for the day.

4.45 AM

Bus leaves camp and I use this time to catch up on the overnight news.

5.00 AM

Quickly blow in the breatho before heading to our production meeting where we talk about the overnight performance and what is needed for the next 12 hours.

5.15 AM

Time to get the days drilling and charging plans out before the operators head underground.

6.00 AM

I head to our departments PSI meeting. It’s my turn for a safety share this morning and I reflect on a near miss I had with an elephant in Africa as I just came off annual leave. We then talk about what each department has on for the day and any safety hazards for the next and previous 24 hrs.

6.15 AM

Finally, it’s time for COFFEE!!

6.30 AM

I sit down with my fellow drill and blast engineer and work out what our priorities are for the day and divide up the work. 

7.00 AM

I start on a drill design we have coming up in the week. It takes around a day for our final designs to be signed off by other departments and our contractor so I try to leave some leeway for any redesigns I need to do before the drilling starts. To start the design I bring in the firing shapes created by our planning department. I then use a 3D mine planning software called Deswik to create the drill designs. The stope I’m designing today requires over 5km of 102mm hole drilling… this might take me to lunch.

Reviewing a fired drill design at my desk

2.00 PM

Lunch Time!

3.00 PM

We are heading underground today to have a look at our active drilling and blasting areas. Time to get our gumboots, hard hat, cap lamp, safety glasses, ear plugs, gloves, miners belt and self-rescuer on.  Before we head underground we have to tag onto the tag board. This prevents the firing crew from being able to fire while we are underground and allows the managers to be able to account for anyone in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Tagging onto the Underground Tag Board

3.30 PM

We enter the Daniel Portal and head to see how the charging is going at one of our shots. They are charging a vent rise today. The vent rise will allow a space for air from the bottom of the mine to be drawn in order to better ventilate our lower levels. 

3.45 PM

Arriving at the charging area they are nearly half way through the charge. We check the operator has been testing the explosive product to ensure gassing is consistent and correct. We also talk to the off sider to see if they have had any issues with charging. At this stage we can also start testing the electronic detonators to make sure they are leakage free and start inputting their timing. In order to fire we need a wire connection to the surface so we also test the line in the area and ensure it extends to the firing area.

Discussing the Charge Plan with Charge Up Operators

4.45 PM

After finishing at the charging area and visiting some of our drill sites we head back up to the office to tag off.

Talking to a Longhole Operator about their current drilling design

5.00 PM

Time for the evening production meeting to see how we went today.

5.15 PM

We quickly organise any plans needed for night shift that are not already issued


Time to head home! I usually take the walking track home with one of our scheduling engineers, tonight we got to watch the supermoon rise.


Arrive back at camp and head into the mess for dinner. Gnocchi with a creamy burnt sage and pumpkin sauce, yes please!


6.30 PM

If I haven’t walked home I head to the gym for a quick cardio work out or if its Saturday we play a round of social netball.

7.00 PM

Arriving back at my room it’s time for a shower and to get ready for bed. I try to get my social calls in at this time as well.

8.00 PM

Lights out!