woman on mine site smiling to camera with equipment in the background

Meet Gabby, the youngest driller in the West?

Meet Gabby Wilson, South Flank’s youngest drill operator – and probably the youngest in the Pilbara! A proud Nyamal woman, Gabby started work at South Flank a week shy of her 18th birthday, thanks to an eagle-eyed aunty.

“I had spoken to some of my family members who had experienced mining life, and it sounded very appealing to me,” she says. “In January 2021, my aunty sent me a Facebook ad for a traineeship in the Drill and Blast Team – I had no clue what Drill and Blast really entailed, but I was excited and had a good feeling about it.”

“I knew I would be one of the youngest in my team, but soon discovered I was the youngest on site!” She credits support from team members and line leaders for helping her settle into FIFO life quickly – despite a few speedbumps along the way.

“The hardest part was my own thoughts, to be honest,” she reflects. “I worried whether people would think I wasn’t mature enough to handle the lifestyle. In the end, it drove me harder to do my best and to prove my worth at BHP.” 

Within a month she was on a drill, supported by a trainer every step of the way, and within three months she was passed out and confident to operate one herself.

Now, she’s building her own home, enjoying a new 4WD, and was just named BHP's Indigenous Trainee of the Year – and she’s still only 19.

Her advice to new starters? “Never feel like you are alone – everyone has been in your position once, even though it may not feel like it. You’ll always have people to support you whether it be family, friends or work colleagues. I would also say; don’t be afraid to have goals that might seem out of reach for others, aim for something that you really want in life, it will help you progress.”

“Before mining, I didn’t know where I would end up, but I always dreamt of having my own home. Now I am striving towards making my dreams come true, and all I want to do is to keep achieving my goals.” 

We can’t wait to see what comes next for Gabby.