03 May 2022
At 26 years of age, Lex Wood, superintendent at the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter in Western Australia is responsible for the safe operations of one of the biggest integrated flash furnace operations in the southern hemisphere – an incredible leadership role he loves.
Lex has lived in Kalgoorlie for four years, joining the team after completing a Master of Chemical Engineering at the University of Western Australia.
“Kalgoorlie has that small country town feel while also being one of the largest regional cities in WA,” said Lex, on why he loves living in the Goldfields.
“Everyone is here for the same reason. Everyone’s looking out for each other. And for professionals, this is an incredible place to live with lots of room to develop and grow.”
Lex starts his day reviewing the furnace safety and production performance over the last 24 hours, then setting directions for the Supervisory team for the next 24 hours.
‘What we do is super unique. There aren’t many places in Australia where you get to work with the volume of molten metal that we do, and you have the WA School of Mines here which means a lot of people have deep industry experiences,” explained Lex.
“The molten metal in our furnace is hotter than lava – ranging between 1100 to 1400 degrees Celsius. It’s hard to comprehend until you see it.”
Lex said the furnace presents a unique problem and technical challenges every day.
“You don’t work in a furnace if you are just wanting to rock up to work for the sake of it,” he said. “But people can thrive in a furnace environment. It naturally breeds very resilient, hard-working people. That’s one of the reasons I really like working here.”
The rest of Lex’s time is largely spent setting direction for his 50-strong team, coaching and working on safety improvement projects.
“I really enjoy working with people, seeing people grow and develop their work and personal skills. I was Captain of the footy team and Head Boy at school, and I’ve always wanted to be a people leader. I want to help people reach their potential.”
When he’s not at work, Lex can be found playing video games or at the gym. He loves the Goldfields life and is getting married to a local Occupational Therapist who also works in the mining industry.
“I enjoy living in Kalgoorlie – it is not a big place – but lots of us have the same interests in work and life and it’s a great place to be!”
Thank you for sharing your story Lex. Nickel West is a future facing commodity in the BHP portfolio, helping the world decarbonise by supplying West Australian nickel to world battery and electric vehicle markets.
If you want to flex like Lex – click here for job openings at Nickel West.