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My Mining Life Coalface

Who are you and what do you do?

I work for East Coast Traffic Control, and we go out and control the roads when the mines are doing the blasting. We close it down so no traffic can go through while the blast is happening.

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

I first started in the mining industry only last year at Blackwater in this role as controller and it was a whole new experience.

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

Totally different! I used to be a baker and before that I was a milkman and now I’m a traffic controller.

What does a usual day at work look like?

It depends on the blast site but currently we usually have all the signs on the road that we are controlling all ready and set up around 11.30am. We are there for the duration of the blast, so until about 1.30 to 2pm, then we pack everything up and head back the 300km to where we are based.

What is the best thing about your job?

I love the travel.

The worst thing?

The Bruce Highway!

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

Flat batteries in the middle of the bush!

What’s your proudest achievement?

I think it would have to be making the leap to change careers, re-educate myself and step out of my comfort zone.

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

That we don’t sit around all day! It’s a pretty full day every day when we are controlling and there are so many elements that need to be considered and of course all the safety aspects that need to be adhered to.

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

We were sent down to Calliope to repair a power pole. We had a 22 kilo part that we had to put on the power pole, and they sent us a 100 tonne crane to do the 22 kilo part and the driver didn’t know how to drive it. It was funny but not, all at the same time!

What do you do in your downtime?

Sit around my campfire.

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 necessary evil really. We need the coal, and we need the steel so therefore we’ve got to mine it. And the upside of that is that we keep the construction going in this country, but the downside is we are leaving big holes in the ground. It’s all about finding that balance, and knowing we’ve got to take care of the place while we’re at it.

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