woman in mining uniform underground

"Being a graduate metallurgist onsite has been an amazing experience" - meet Emily

I have always loved chemical engineering as it’s a really unique way of looking at the world and understanding how it works at a fundamental level.

I grew up on the North West coast of Tasmania, before moving to Victoria to study. I studied at the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Chemical Engineering.

I fell into the mining industry by chance, as it wasn’t a particularly well represented industry in Victoria. I was lucky enough to be accepted for an internship with BHP in 2019 at Olympic Dam and went for it thinking it would be a great new experience onsite at a metallurgical plant.

I spent 12 weeks in the smelter and fell in love with pyrometallurgy, and more generally the range of processes and experiences available at Olympic Dam, as well as gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the impact that the mining industry has on the global economy.

I’ve remained in the industry since, accepting a graduate position at Olympic Dam and am continuing to explore the different opportunities available to me within the industry.

My top tip for others wanting to get started is to say ‘yes’ to the opportunities that come your way.

While at the time it may not always seem to provide value, and it almost always involves taking on additional work that may be hard to fit in with what you are otherwise doing, by branching out and trying new things you continue to learn and grow and diversify your experiences in ways you would not otherwise get the chance to experience.

It also helps you to understand where you want to end up in the long-run, by trying out new things and working out what you like and what challenges you early on, it is easier to find your niche in a field that you are actually passionate about.

Something that I have learnt along the way is to just get out there and have a go. You often end up in situations where you don’t feel comfortable or certain in what you are doing, but by putting yourself out there and giving it a go anyway and asking for help when you get stuck, you learn that you are a lot more capable than you think and you learn to be more comfortable being uncomfortable.

Being a graduate metallurgist onsite has been an amazing experience.  I have had the opportunity to be technically challenged, trying out different areas onsite and get involved with projects which range from improving plant performance and throughput to challenging the process flow path to improve plant sustainability.  I have also had the opportunity to continue my professional development, learn from incredible mentors, attend workshops and conferences to upskill as well as learn from my cohort and those who have come before me and remained within the business.