secondment experience promotes greater collaboration and cross-training
McArthur River Mine second year graduate Geologist Benjamin Koch had the opportunity to complete a three-month secondment at our Ernest Henry Mine from September to October last year.
Employee secondments benefit both Glencore and our employees as a means for developing good business relationships and sharing and enhancing our collective corporate knowledge.
At the same time, they offer employees a valuable career development opportunity, with the chance to make new contacts and gain broader experience within a different mining and resource setting.
Ben began his career working for Glencore Agriculture in 2017 before moving over as a Geologist at McArthur River Mine (MRM) in 2018. When Ben heard about the secondment opportunity he jumped at the chance to experience what it's like working at another Glencore asset.
"Being exposed to another mine site was an awesome opportunity for me to develop professionally," Ben says.
"I really wanted exposure to a mine site with a different orebody and mining method so that I was able further advance what I've learnt at MRM so coming to EHM seemed like the perfect fit."
It's a tale of two mines, with the zinc-lead McArthur River Mine starting out as an underground operation and transitioning to an open pit mine while the Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) began as an open pit copper mine before progressing underground.
Situated in the remote Gulf of Carpentaria about 970 kilometres south-east of Darwin, MRM is a first-rate zinc-lead mine sitting on one of the world's largest zinc resources.
Operating since 1995, MRM is a key operation in Glencore's global portfolio and provides employment for around 1,000 people including contractors, mostly from the Top End and the immediate communities surrounding the mine in the Gulf region.
After the ore is mined, an onsite concentrator produces bulk lead and zinc concentrates which are transported by covered road trains to Bing Bong around 130 kilometres north of the mine. From here it are loaded onto the purpose-built MV Aburri and delivered to vessels for shipment overseas.
Working at a copper mine was a great new experience for Ben who says he enjoyed working as part of the Technical Services team at EHM.
"The people were all very welcoming and friendly and they're a team who enjoy having a laugh while doing some really interesting and important work," Ben says.
"The geology and operation at EHM is fascinating but the people are what made the experience so positive. I was able to make some good mates and on the way learnt some things about rocks!"
At EHM, Ben says he was impressed by more than 50 kilometres of underground development and exposed to the innovative sub-level caving method used to mine the copper ore.
"This whole experience has taught me that EHM and MRM are both achieving the same goal but using different methods to achieve that goal," says Ben.
"I really appreciated being able to see how the EHM Geology team conduct material movement, reconciliations and mapping which gave me a contrast to how we do things at MRM."
"There were also many opportunities to develop technically with exposure to different programs and methods I have never used before."