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My Mining Life – Emma Wotton



Emma has grown up with mining in the blood. So, it comes as no surprise that her mining career is on the up and up.

Who are you and what do you do?
Emma Wotton, Production Supervisor at Mount Arthur Coal.

Any nicknames good or bad?

Where do you live and how long have you been in the Valley?
I live in Cessnock. I moved to the Hunter Valley 9 years ago from Queensland.

When did you start and what’s the ride been like?
I started at Mt Owen as a graduate mining engineer with Thiess in 2009. I worked at Mt Owen doing Drill and Blast Engineering and Mine Planning. In 2012 I moved to Bulga as a Mining Engineer and spent time working in mid-term planning and dig and dump planning. In 2016 I decided to move into a production role as an Overburden Analysis and Improvement Specialist at Mt Arthur Coal. Last year, I was given the opportunity to come onto crew as a Production Supervisor while I am trying to complete my mining engineering manager competency.

What’s a usual day at work entail?
I start my shift with a handover and the line up meeting with our dispatch team in Brisbane. The shift is usually full of dig and dump inspections, field leadership and safety activities, coaching operators and meetings.

How big is the crew?
Usually about 170 operators.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I really enjoy working with people and problem solving. I love being able to understand how my team thinks and what makes them tick. Getting the best performance out of my team is so rewarding.

The worst thing?
Having to get out of bed and get to work by 5:15! I love my sleep.

How different is your job to what you wanted to be when you were a kid?
I always wanted to work in mining, but I thought I would have been a drill and blast engineer. My career and aspirations have certainly changed and evolved since I started working in mining.

What would your mum say about you when you were a kid?
My mum would say that I’ve always been a very headstrong and determined person.

What do you do in your downtime?
I spend my free time collecting Australian wine and whiskey and dining out in the vineyards.

Why did you decide to start a career in mining?
My family is in mining, I’m third generation and was born in a small mining town in the Pilbara called Tom Price. Both of my parents are in mining and my mum was my inspiration to join the industry.
I was brought up around many strong, determined women in mining I am still lucky enough to have some of those women in my life continuing to mentor me to this day.

Are you passionate about promoting women in mining and do you aim to develop other women you work with?
I’m extremely passionate about mining in general and early in my career I actively promoted careers in mining to university and high school students, both male and female. Over the years I have taken other young women under my wing to share my knowledge. But this year I am planning to take this a step further and will be working together with Nicky Samuelson, an operator on my crew, and the team at BHP. We’re aiming to kick off a mentoring program at Mt Arthur Coal for young female operators and professionals. It’s early days, but we’d like to build the program from the floor up, hopefully helping to develop the talent we have on site to understand their future career paths and build their leadership skills.

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