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WATKINS, Darren

Degree

Graduate Diploma in Mining

Graduation year

2007

Current position

Mining Manager, Ballarat Gold Project

Employer

Castlemaine Goldfields Pty Ltd

Why did you choose to study at our University?

Ability to study whilst maintaining full time employment.

Tell us about your on campus and distance study at our University, and the support that the academic staff provided you

Course content was industry relevant, academic staff demonstrated excellent industry knowledge across many disciplines.

Tell us about what you were doing before you began studying

Prior to commencing studies at University of Ballarat I had spent approximately 10 years in the underground mining sector. My work experiences, pre study included, Mine Surveyor, Underground Operations and Mine Design/Planning.

What are some of your career highlights?

Being appointed the Mining Manager at the Ballarat Gold Project and subsequent development of the work force to allow production to be increased to economic levels.

Where have you worked, and what roles have you undertaken?

How long have you got? A brief summary below...

Mining Manager, Castlemaine Goldfields Pty Ltd, Ballarat, Victoria

Mining Manager, Challenger Gold Operations, Challenger Gold Mine, South Australia

Project Manager, Barminco, Agnew Gold Mine, Western Australia

Project Manager, Tomingley Gold Operations Pty Ltd, New South Wales

Project Manager, Mancala Holdings Pty Ltd, Ban Phuc Nickel Mine, Vietnam

Area Manager / Senior Technical Services Engineer, Orica Australia Pty Ltd, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Mine Planning Engineer / Senior Mine Surveyor, Ballarat Goldfields NL, Ballarat, Victoria

Senior Mine Surveyor, Endeavor Mine, Cobar, New South Wales

Underground Operator, Mine Design, Mine Surveyor, Western Mining Corporation, Olympic Dam Mine, South Australia

Mine Surveyor, Central Norseman Gold Corporation, Norseman, Western Australia

What advice would you give a student considering studying the Graduate Diploma of Mining?

Employment in the mining sector is going to require you to travel, and at times be away from home so be prepared and willing to do this.

If you still wish to work in mining then work hard at your studies and try and get some hands on work experience. The work experience will allow you to relate your study back to practical examples. Also make sure you can drive a manual car, mining jobs require this, and you don’t won’t to get over looked for another candidate because you can’t drive a manual.

Do you have any advice about life after study to pass on to current students?

Try and find an employer that offers a graduate program, this will allow you to receive experience in many areas.

Make sure you get the required hands on experience for the various state Mine Manager’s certifications. Even if you think now you don’t wish to be a Manager, later on you may change your mind and it will be tough doing the hands on work later in life.

Find a mentor that will assist your development, and make sure you act with integrity at all times, this is an individual’s best quality.