Clarence Goh, Graduate Mining Engineer at South32
A day in the life of…

Graduate Mining Engineer at South32

Clarence Goh studied ​a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) and Bachelor of Commerce (Human Resource Management and Management) ​at The University of Western Australia in 2015, and is now a Graduate Mining Engineer at South32.

4.30 AM

My eyes open! Once again, my body clock has woken me up before my alarm has gone off. Another 10 minutes, another 10 minutes! I shut my eyes to get every additional minute of sleep possible.

4.45 AM

My alarm goes off, and I open my eyes. I finally wake up. My feet hit the ground and it’s a new start to the day. I take a cold shower and I’m finally awake. Get dressed, grab my lunch and breakfast to go and off to site. Only a 7-minute drive to site, I can’t complain about that.

5.30 AM

The sun is just rising over the mine site and it’s a beautiful scene to arrive to each morning. (Tip: Getting in early means getting the prime parking spots). Now I’m sitting at my desk with a coffee in hand. I start going through my inbox which sometimes can be full of new emails, handovers and shift reports (My current graduate rotation has landed me in a Drill and Blast Coordinators role which entails a focus on safety improvements in the drill and blast team and to plan, manage and coordinate drill and blast operations). I look at my inbox and it’s full, not a good sign to start with. Into the void, I go…. Handovers. Shift reports. A drill rig has broken down. Planning conformance review for the previous shift. The emails are very varied and there are lots of challenges for the day.

6.15 AM

Head into the daily pre-start meeting with the blast crew and exploration drill team (I will normally alternate between going to the blast crew/exploration drill team and production drilling team morning meetings. This is so I can get a good view of what is happening over the two teams). The supervisor kicks off the meeting and normally, I just observe and follow the conversations during that meeting. Acting to ensure that if there are any problems that have been identified they can be rectified as soon as possible. This meeting is another chance for me to interact with the crew and to have another face that the crew can come to if there are issues.

6.30 AM

Back to my desk and a quick catch up with the blasting and drilling supervisors on the upcoming shift. I finish up the conversation and head back to the emails and investigations. Phone calls are raised to the Supply and Purchasing group for the consumables, but no one answers –.they are based in Perth and not in the office until around 8am. Emails are now sent off with hopes it will be acted upon as soon as possible. Try to sort through the rest of the emails and respond to them.

8.00 AM

As I get pulled into the void which are my emails, the blasting supervisor grabs for another meeting, with Mine Services (Daily meeting involving the Mine Service’s supervisors, coordinators and superintendent). I grab the print outs and report from the previous shift and head into the meeting. The emails must wait a while more.

9.00 AM

Meeting over. A lot of great discussion about the upcoming shift and a strong focus on the drill and blasting performance. A few more tasks added to the to-do list today but nothing major. I head back to my desk to check my emails. Success! The supply team in Perth has seen my email. Small win for today so far.

9.30 AM

Grab my water bottle and hard hat and head out with the drilling supervisor to conduct our pit inspections (I do not go out to the pits daily but I try go out into the pits as often as I can when time permits as to know what is happening out in the field). This is one of my favorite parts of the job, being able to go out into the field, interact with the operators, see how everything is working out and where we can improve.

1.00 PM

Pit tour completed and now I’m heading back to the office. As the drill and blast coordinator, it is my responsibility to aid to solve any problems that the drill and blast team come across during the week. There are many challenges to overcome each day, from inventory requirements and contract management, to legal requirements and document control. Back to the office and the best time of the day, lunch time. It’s even better today, because I forgot that there was a team BBQ and brought my own lunch. BBQ team lunches are a great way for people to come together and just enjoy a meal together.

1.30 PM

Pre-Planning meeting with the scheduling engineers (every Tuesday). This meeting is between the operational superintendents, supervisors, coordinators and scheduling engineers to set up the weekly plan. There is a lot of discussion about the currently weekly plan and the priorities along with discussion about the next weekly plan and where each activity is sitting. Going out for the pit tour prior to this meeting really aids in letting the engineers know the status of each pit and activity.

2.10 PM

Finally, I can get back to my desk and finish off those emails and tick off some of the items off the to-do list. Firstly, a quick call to the supply team to ensure that the drilling consumables are on the way. Success. The consumables are being couriered to site and I breathe a sigh of relief. Another call to a recruiting firm to ensure that we have personnel coming to fill in gaps in our manning for the blast crew. Most of the work I do as a coordinator revolves around planning, scheduling (and re-scheduling) and managing work. Ensuring that all the pre-work is finished on time ensuring that deadlines are met and ready for the drill and blast team to work without interruption. Majority of the day is either spent in the field or talking with stakeholders, especially external stakeholders such as our vendors and recruiters.

2.30 PM

Finally, I can get back to my desk and finish off those emails and tick off some of the items off the to-do list. Firstly, a quick call to the supply team to ensure that the drilling consumables are on the way. Success. The consumables are being couriered to site and I breathe a sigh of relief. Another call to a recruiting firm to ensure that we have personnel coming to fill in gaps in our manning for the blast crew. Most of the work I do as a coordinator revolves around planning, scheduling (and re-scheduling) and managing work. Ensuring that all the pre-work is finished on time ensuring that deadlines are met and ready for the drill and blast team to work without interruption. Majority of the day is either spent in the field or talking with stakeholders, especially external stakeholders such as our vendors and recruiters.

3.00 PM

Second last meeting of today, the daily combined supervisors meeting. This is where the production and mine service’s supervisors and coordinators come together to discuss the next shift plans in relation to each team.

3.30 PM

Back to the desk to finalise the next day’s daily plan as well as trying to churn through the  paperwork and ordering. All of today’s critical tasks have been completed which is the most important thing.

4.00 PM

Quick catch up with my current superintendent. We discuss the progress I have had in the role, what I am doing well and areas of improvement and a general discussion of what is ahead for me in my rotation and what work I would like to do (at South32, mining engineer graduates can have a range of different rotations with a range of different teams). I am currently in my second last rotation in the mine services team as a drill and blast coordinator. Previous rotations included scheduling engineer, drill and blast design and scheduling engineer and mine design engineer. The opportunity to move between teams and work with different people has been a great opportunity. Also, having someone senior I can have a chat with and can give a difference of opinions within my own team has really helped me get the most out of my experience.

5.00 PM

Last stretch of the day. I finish off some paperwork for safe working instructions for the blast crew, a couple of risk assessments and paperwork for new starters to the company. As I am the most tech-savvy person in the team, during this time of the day, I am asked by some of my team members to help with some computer difficulties.

6.30 PM

End of the day, time to go home. Only a short drive back home.

6.40 PM

I am home, showered and fed and in my room by 8:00pm watching a new TV series (not sure which one to pick next).

9.00 PM

I turn off my computer and start to get ready for bed.

10.00 PM

I turn off my computer and start to get ready for bed.

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