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My Mining Life – Noel Busk



Who are you and what did you do before your recent retirement?

Noel Busk, I was working at Goonyella Riverside as a Plant Operator.

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

I started in 1971 at Goonyella as a Dragline Oiler, at the age of 19, with UTAH Development Company. I was there for 11 months when I returned to Gladstone to work at the Gladstone Alumina Plant. Lynnie and I moved to live in Moranbah in 1972, three weeks after we married as I had a job as a Plant Operator at Peak Downs Mine, which was also owned by UTAH Development Company back then. In February 1983, I left Peak Downs when the new Riverside Mine opened with TDM (Thiess Dampier Mitsui) and started as a Dragline/Shovel Operator and Trainer. 

What did a usual day at work entail?

Operating machinery and helping with training.

Reflecting back what was the best thing about your job?

The variety of roles and experience operating all machinery on an open cut mine. I was chosen to become a safety coordinator and trainer for Goonyella Riverside in the early 1990’s for about 12 years, before I went back on the tools.

The worst thing?

None really.

What was one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

The introduction of a totally new safety system, even on paper, then onto computers.

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

I find it funny to hear how some people got their nicknames.

What do you do in your downtime and what’s your plan for retirement?

Spending more time with family, lowering my handicap in golf, and travelling with my wife – WHEN she retires, which should be soon.

Moranbah has been a great place to live. I’ve been involved in so many things. I was a JP for many years, part of the Army Reserves, the Clermont Hospital Board until its end, President of the Moranbah Golf Club, and a member of the Jaycees from 1976 until I turned 40 when I aged out! I’ve played indoor cricket and squash, cricket and plenty of golf over the years.

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

I have been very grateful for the years that I have had in the industry – all 51 of them, and the opportunities for families. We have sons, a daughter-in-law, and now a granddaughter working in the industry, along with extended family as well.

Without the coal mining industry in our region, we would never have had the opportunity to live and play where we work. 

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