Starting out as fresh-faced graduates, Holly Clark and David Perkin could not believe their luck when they started work at Sunrise Dam.

David Perkin and Holly Clark in the core yard at Sunrise Dam. 

Living proof that hard work pays off, both Holly and David are now in superintendent positions. 

AngloGold Ashanti Australia (AGAA) has consistently been a graduate employer and this year is rolling out a formal, structured programme in the fields of geology, mining and metallurgy.

Graduate positions will be offered in the second half of the year with the successful candidates due to start work in 2019.

The graduate program will not only build a healthy talent pipeline through identifying, attracting and developing young talent in major operational professions, but will also indirectly support the universities providing vital mining-related courses.

David and Holly epitomise the graduate journey.

David is Superintendent: Resource Evaluation, and has been with AngloGold Ashanti Australia for 10 years, while Holly is Superintendent: Resource Development, and joined the company nine years ago.

Both are big believers in a strong work ethic and embraced the opportunities offered by AGAA to upskill and pave the way for employees to reach senior positions, particularly for those who work hard and demonstrate excellent people skills.

“You really do need to be willing to do the hard yards when you start out and let your work speak for itself,” Holly said.

On a technical level, David said the complexity of the Sunrise Dam ore body has also retained their interest.

“You will never solve it and as soon as you think you know what the ore body is doing it throws a curve ball at you,” David said.

“I remember being told when I first started in the industry that if I could work at Sunrise Dam, which is well known geologically for its structural complexity, that you would get a job anywhere… I now know what they meant,” Holly said laughing.

“It certainly keeps you interested." 

As for life as a FIFO worker the family vibe at Sunrise Dam has been a big factor for the pair when away from loved ones. 

While both attended Liverpool University in the UK, and probably brushed past each other on a daily basis, it was not until they started work at Sunrise Dam that they officially met. 

David received his Bachelor Degree in Geology before completing a Masters in Mining Geology at the Cambourne School of Mines, while Holly completed her Bachelor of Science Degree and then attended the University of Birmingham to complete her Masters in Hydrogeology. 

Part of David’s Masters included a field trip to Australia to visit 'real mines'. This was during the mining boom in mid-2007 and he said of the 16 geologists to graduate, 14 returned to Australia for work.

“I had an interview at Sunrise Dam and in the Pilbara with BHP, but coming straight from an English winter decided on Sunrise Dam because I didn’t fancy moving somewhere where it was hotter than the sun,” he recalled.

“I also knew the geology at Sunrise Dam would keep me interested and I started work underground as a graduate geologist. I like being underground and really enjoy it."

After six months he took on the role as an underground mine geologist, a position he held for three years that included separate projects on the Sunrise Shear and Astro ore bodies. 

He then moved into the exploration side of the business, which focused on the MLE (Mine Life Extension) drilling. After two years, during which time the Global Financial Crisis pre-empted a pullback in exploration activity, he, along with Holly, were promoted to senior positions, working back-to-back under the Exploration Superintendent, Miles Darragh.

“When Miles left for Tropicana, his role wasn’t replaced and instead we took over the work he had been doing, supervising the exploration and resource development department, which included managing the core yard,” he said.

During this time David also returned to university and completed a Post Graduate Degree in Geostatistics. 

With the arrival of Duncan Gibbs as the Sunrise Dam General Manager both David and Holly were promoted to their current roles. 

They both agree that moving from senior positions to superintendent roles has been the biggest step change to date, in terms of the type of work they are now accountable for delivering. 

Holly’s introduction to AGAA was rather fortuitous - while visiting friends in Australia following her studies, she bumped into a fellow Brit geologist, who passed on her CV to the Sunrise Dam Geology Manager at the time.

So, after finishing her travels and returning to the UK to complete her Masters, Holly returned to Australia in 2008 to fill the graduate exploration geologist role at Sunrise Dam. 

For more information visit AngloGold Ashanti Australia's careers page. 

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