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AngloGold Ashanti Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Tom Boulton

Look for a job you can stay in for the longer term. It is within this environment, with a team you get on well with, that job progression and satisfaction is the best.

What's your job about?

I work at Tropicana Gold Mine in the processing department, my areas of responsibility are within metallurgy. I work FIFO from Perth on an 8:6 roster. 

My daily work includes:

  • A pre-start meeting planning out daily work and discussing safety-related matters within the metallurgy and processing departments.
  • Preparing and coordinating the daily production meeting where we review daily kpis, safety matters, planning and job scheduling.
  • Project work within metallurgy or processing (recovery enhancement, safety, gold room activities)
  • We do weekly Metallurgical Accounting which allows for the financial reporting to take place throughout the business. I work on this with our production metallurgist.
  • During the day we often review Citect (plant control system) and look for any inefficiencies within the process to maximise gold production.
  • Working closely with the metallurgical technicians who take many of our samples (to see plant performance). Often the job requires getting your hands dirty and being involved in the plant as well as back on the computer. I really enjoy this balance of both worlds!

Sometimes people do not always understand the role of metallurgists in mining, and it is sometimes even confused with meteorologists! metallurgists are responsible for plant sampling, accounting, reporting of plant performance and processing improvements.

What's your background?

I grew up in a village called Meltham in the UK which is a long way away from where I now work.

I studied internationally at Adelaide University for a year during my MEng degree and decided Australia was for me. I moved back after a couple of years as a graduate chemical engineer in the uk within chemicals and have been here since. I have been fortunate with being able to visit family back in Europe often with the FIFO roster. 

I worked in labs in Perth to gain experience and also through recruitment agencies to gain FIFO experience with Fortescue. Initially, I joined AngloGold Ashanti australia as a metallurgical technician, in 2017, to gain experience and then moved to the graduate role. at the time of writing this, I have been in the graduate role over a year.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

YES! I have a different background to many of the people I work with, the typical progression is through an Australian University studying Metallurgy. I had neither of these, but after proving yourself you can chase what you enjoy!  I have worked with Metallurgists without degrees who are very good at what they do and have learnt the skills required through different pathways.

Attention to detail is crucial for the role, personability is important to work well with people in the company across many different departments. Being able to stay calm during problem-solving is also important.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I enjoy the large scale of our operations, but what I love most about my job is the constant learning. There and always opportunities to improve our leaching and elution processes. The chemistry of these processes is a passion of mine and is more interesting in gold than many other commodities.

I volunteer as an ERT (emergency response team) member which is also a part of my job I love. Being prepared to help our colleagues in an emergency across fire, chemicals and underground involves interesting training.

What are the limitations of your job?

12-hour shifts can be difficult, especially if you have to stay longer for urgent / outstanding work – this does happen from time to time. Being away from home is a part of the job if you are FIFO and has its challenges with family.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Look for a job you can stay in for the longer term. It is within this environment, with a team you get on well with, that job progression and satisfaction is the best.
  • Don’t be afraid of not getting into the perfect graduate position straight away in your career. Sometimes working in different places can narrow down where you fit best.
  • Find and know your strengths and weaknesses. Personal development is super important!