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Meet Breanna operator engineer and advocate

Underground mining isn’t for the faint-hearted! It’s dark, hot, humid, uncompromising work that presents distinctive challenges in a unique environment.

Meet Breanna, who works 850 metres underground as a mining engineer at our Cliffs nickel mine in the northern Goldfields of Western Australia.

When Breanna started fly-in-fly-out work as a teenager nearly 13 years ago, she was one of the youngest female mining operators in the state. 

Her mining journey started as a mobile crusher operator. From there, she transitioned to open pit operations - operating graders, trucks, production loaders and finally, a production excavator.

After eight years, Breanna decided she wanted a new challenge, and decided to study Mining Engineering graduating with First Class Honours – all while working FIFO.

“My change in career was prompted by my desire to gain a deeper understanding of the mining cycle,” Breanna said.  

“From a technical perspective, the learning opportunities are endless. Engineering has unlimited pathways, growth opportunities and challenges that make it very exciting to come to work.”

Breanna described what it’s like to work in a hard rock mining environment, deep below surface.

“The conditions underground are dark, hot and generally very humid. The operators are in some of the toughest working conditions imaginable. They think creatively and show enormous amounts of mental resilience as they adapt.”

Not only has Breanna broadened her knowledge and skills, she has also emerged as an advocate and leader for gender diversity within the mining industry too.

“I love breaking stereotypes and helping enable the ‘bring your whole self to work’ philosophy,” Breanna said.

“Once people see it, they believe it. It’s important we create and support environments where everyone can realise their full potential, and I love that this is a value so strongly felt at BHP.”

Breanna is also a passionate volunteer for the mining sector, taking on a role with the WA Mining Club - Young Professionals group, which aspires to drive diversification and innovation in the mining industry.

Thank you Breanna for being an inspiring young leader, advocate and role model - all the best for your future endeavours!