My Mining Life – Connor Lach

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Who are you and what do you do?

My names Connor Lach and I’m an operator at Goonyella River Side mine.

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

My first job was a gardener and labourer at Dyno Nobel which turned into a school based traineeship doing Process Plant Operations. I then started mining in 2017 at Goonyella Riverside as a haul truck operator. I’m still at Goonyella now but work for BHP OS. I’m currently operating in Autonomous Haulage.

How different is your job to what you wanted to be as a kid?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to work with sea turtles but that was short lived after my dad let me watch the movie Jaws…

What’s a usual day at work entail?

Starting off the day I catch the bus from Moranbah to Goonyella. When we arrive we head straight out to our assigned crib huts on the bus. We have our daily prestart as a group and then our supervisor assigns us tasks. We either get machinery to operate or odd jobs around the strip that need to be done. Usually, I operate the water cart which puts water down on the roads to stop the dust. If I’m not on a water cart I’ll be in a car on strip helping the field officers and supervisors. We spend most of our day making sure the autonomous trucks don’t stop and if they do find out why and get them moving again.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I really enjoy my job, working in the mines has been a great experience. Working on a 7/7 roster has been great. Having 7 days off is the best.

The worst thing?

Waking up early for 7 days.

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

Working nights has been a pretty decent challenge. Having to come off doing 7 nights in a row I find it quite difficult as my body takes a couple days to get back to its normal sleeping pattern.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Proudest mining achievement is being in Goonyella as it became a fully autonomous site. It’s been a cool transition to see.

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

I think people would be surprised that I work with self-driving trucks. No operators needed.

What’s a funny story about your work?

I thought I had put my car keys in my bag one morning and on the way home I couldn’t find them. I thought I had lost them at work. I got off the bus at the camp in Moranbah and walked over to my car to check it was locked. I thought I might have had the spare set in it. Turns out the keys were in the ignition for 13 hours!

What do you do in your downtime?

I usually take it pretty easy. I make the most of spending time with my girlfriend and try to catch up with mates as much as I can.

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

I think mining is a great way to start a career in operating. It helps with creating jobs and employing people even if they have no prior mining experience. Traineeships and apprenticeships are great ways to get your foot in the door.

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