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My Mining Life: James Markham

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Who are you and what do you do?

I’m James Markham, Maintenance Supervisor with Infrastructure at Mt Arthur Coal.

When did you start in the mining industry and what was your first job?

I started in 2013 as an Apprentice Plant Mechanic.

How different is your job now to what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

Somewhat the same. Growing up on a farm I was always tinkering with the machinery.

What’s a usual day at work entail?

Conduct pre-start, hand out the job packs, area inspections, event investigations and prioritise breakdowns.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The crew I work with, great bunch of people.

The worst thing?

Dealing with the ever-changing Covid impacts.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

In this role there are various trades that I have to look after and understanding their scope of work and how they apply it in day-to-day activities can be challenging at times.

What has been your proudest achievement?

I would have to say being in a leadership role at a young age. Throughout my career I have had many mentors/leaders, both good and bad, and too be in this role and receive the positive feedback from my crew is always good to hear.

What’s something about your job that would surprise people to know?

The number of equipment/trades/buildings we look after. Everything from fitters, lecos, gardeners, plumbers, carpenters, pest management. The list goes on. There is a very broad spectrum of work.

What’s a funny story about work that you can tell?

Before the Christmas break, I kept telling everyone at pre starts to stay safe and not get Covid. In the end there was only one who got Covid…me. Haha all is well now though.

What do you do in your downtime?

I love to go camping and fishing with my partner and our 3 dogs. I’m always up for a spontaneous adventure.

Outside of work I am an On-Call Firefighter for Fire & Rescue NSW. We respond to emergencies around the community.

The mining industry gets more than its fair share of criticism. What is your view of our industry and the impact is has?

I believe the industry has great impact not only for employment but also community engagement. Living locally in the Hunter it’s very rare that you wouldn’t see a major community event sponsored by one of the mines. Our local miners are also always actively supporting local sporting and volunteer groups.

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