MY MINING LIFE: Hayden Lawrie

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Hayden Lawrie. I work for GB Auto at HVO. I’m an Auto Electrician in a small team looking after the site comms, Modular & CAT Terrain GPS.

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

I started in the industry in 2009 as an apprentice auto electrician at Emeco. (First actual job was Maccas).

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

Mum always said if I wanted to drive a truck, I had to know how it works first. I’m not driving trucks yet, so I suppose I am still learning how they work, in a trade you are always learning.

What’s a usual day at work entail?

0700 HCOM, jump in the ute and fix any high priority comms issues. Talk with Dispatch to jump on trucks over crib. Move any comms trailers out for the blast. Wash the ute and do a timesheet and log off.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Being out and about in the sun, talking to and meeting different operators. My close knit team.

The worst thing?

Washing the ute after driving in that tacky half dry mud all day.

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

My first shift at Lake Cowal gold mine in 2012. First time solo on site and first time I ever worked on a drill (this one was SKF). Was given a full service sheet and told ‘righto get stuck in’.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Training multiple apprentices and new people to mining. Also starting and steadily growing my business, Hunter Valley Mining Apparel. I created HVMA because I saw a gap in the market for clothing and headwear that is authentic to people who live and work where we do. I wanted to create something familiar, relatable and even a bit funny. My vision is that people wear the clothing proudly because most of us are proud of what we do in this area and the industry. Check us out on

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

You don’t need a specific trade to do my role on site. Our team is made up of people from different backgrounds who all bring their own type of value.

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

I was once tasked with bringing a D10 into the workshop. I was told ‘you’ll figure it out’. So off I went, let me set the scene. D10, no blade, no push arms, lift rams held up with chain, no ripper bed or cylinders, no top half of the cab, no seat, and no floor. Perched up on the LHS arm rest. Took the park brake off and put it in F, foot off the brake and away I went. This was great until I said to myself ‘hmmm, I wonder what the rabbit button does’ and it TOOK OFF! I was hanging onto anything I could ended up clicking the gear up button which made it worse. Finally got my foot on the brake, engine screaming until someone yelled, push the decel! And I said THE WHAT? And that is how I learnt to drive a dozer.

What do you do in your downtime?

Time with wife and kids and also working on the business, developing new products, packing orders, chatting with customers and making memes for my Facebook page.

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

My view is that mining companies these days really do their absolute best they can for the environment and the community. Yes, renewable energy is the future but right now we can’t just turn off coal mines it needs to be a smooth transition that keeps everyone in a job.

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