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Jae Holbrook @ The Coalface

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jae Holbrook and I’m an Assistant Mine Surveyor at Malabar Resources’ Maxwell Underground Mine.

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

I started in mining in 2022, after I graduated from university.

My first job was actually at McDonalds.

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

As a kid I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I ended up doing a technical drawing subject at school and really enjoyed it, so I completed a Drafting Apprenticeship. From there, I kind of fell into surveying as I could utilise my drafting skills and now here I am – loving my job.

What’s a usual day at work entail?

That’s a good question as I don’t think people really know what we do as surveyors lol.

I arrive at site around 6:30am for start of shift meetings with the crews, we talk about safety and the plan for the day. From there we go underground and check where the continuous miner is up to. We then head back into the office for a bite to eat and update our plans and record our survey data for the day.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Not every day is the same, it keeps you on your toes!

The worst thing?

When you forget your jacket… Muswellbrook winters are cold!

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

Setting up a new mine is a challenge but I’m fortunate to be part of a great team who are focused on building a successful resources company for the long-term.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Definitely building a new underground mine in the Hunter Valley. It’s not every day that you get the chance to do something like this.

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

What people see surveyors do underground is only a small part of our job, there is a lot more planning involved before we go underground.

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

In a recent marketing campaign, I was chosen to be on some of the billboards for Malabar Resources. Let’s just say there has been quite a bit of banter around the office and the team have started calling me Hollywood (maybe a career change is on the cards!).

What do you do in your downtime?

At the moment, I’m mostly running around with my son’s weekend sports. I’m also currently teaching him to fish… more so teaching him about the patience that is required.

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

I personally feel that the world still needs coal mines and I’m not just saying that because I work in the mining industry.

I understand there is a need to transition to a low carbon economy, but high-quality metallurgical coal is still in demand and there is no alternative option available.

I’m proud to say I work for a company who supports underground mining – as it has less environmental impacts – and also has its own renewable projects.

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