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MML @ The Coalface

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Helen Neville and I am a Dump Truck/ Water Cart Operator at Yancoal’s Yarrabee Mine.

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

I started in the industry in 2005 as a Laboratory Technician, testing coal.

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

Little bit different, I just wanted to be a mother, so I am doing what I wanted to do, just doing it with the added bonus of driving dump trucks.

What does a usual day at work look like?

My position starts with prestart meetings and comprehension of the day’s tasks, checking equipment, operating in a safe and productive manner to achieve the days targets, honing my dust suppression skills – there’s a fine art to water carting.

What is the best thing about your job?

The stability of having a fulltime job, the lifestyle it allows you to have when working an even time roster, and the trucks are so easy to drive.

The worst thing?

Being away from my son and partner can get difficult at times.

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

Stepping out of my comfort zone to learn new skills.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Maintaining my role at work and being a mother. I am also proud of what mining has allowed me to achieve financially.

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

The Purple Circle is real.

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

When I worked in the Laboratory we were known as Labby’s and in the event of an emergency one night, I had to call it, everything was a bit crazy afterwards and once things settled down a bit, everyone was hanging crap on me because they said that I had called, “LABBY DOWN, LABBY DOWN”. It went on for years…I swear I didn’t!

What do you do in your downtime?

We run a small BnB called Ribbonwood Bed & Breakfast in Emu Park, and all things Boating Camping Fishing and enjoying every minute of days off.

The mining Industry gets more than its fair share of criticism. What’s your view on the industry and the impact that it has?

It’s a big industry, but it’s small. I don’t think we will ever go away from coal completely, what impact that will have on the future is anyone’s guess. You need the balance, not just taking, but also giving back.

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