Meet Technical Coordinator Amanda Wang, as she takes us behind the scenes at ABC Refinery, from perfecting Australia’s precious metals to the latest technology.
Why did you join the industry?
I studied Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW in Sydney, where I learnt the theory behind how materials are processed and how minute factors at different stages across the process can affect the overall quality of the finished product. Working at ABC Refinery has allowed me to apply that theory in a practical setting, in an industry that allows me the opportunity to grow and develop at a rapid pace.
Tell us about ABC Refinery and the Pallion group.
ABC Refinery began operations in 1978 and has since been delivering large volumes of high-quality gold and silver. This is reflected in the attainment of multiple prestigious accreditations including Shanghai Gold Exchange, London Bullion Market Association and National Association of Testing Authorities. ABC Refinery is one of the many divisions under the Pallion umbrella, which provides employees with opportunities across the entire supply chain process – from refining raw material, to alloying and finished jewellery production. Furthermore, the Pallion group is the manufacturer of the 2019 Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open trophy, and supports student programs and charities such as the Tour de Cure and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation.
Tell us about your role and what drives you?
Since starting at ABC Refinery, I have had the opportunity to be physically involved across the entire refining process and to apply my understanding of chemistry and metallurgy to evaluate and support decisions based on my observations. Currently, I am focusing on quality control and stock management, to troubleshoot issues which may affect production and to ensure the quality of precious metals produced satisfies customer demands.
I am motivated by the potential of challenges, overcoming these challenges and contributing to pioneering the unknown. From my studies, I understand the importance behind ensuring the raw material produced by ABC Refinery is of the highest quality and standards possible. Since working at Pallion, I also recognise the true value of a piece of jewellery is not limited just to the purity and weight of the metal, but also extends to the unseen passion, pride and perseverance of every team member and artisan who contributed to the design and production of the piece. Knowing that I’ve contributed to something so grand motivates me.
To date, what has been the biggest learning curve or challenge for you?
Theory and practice are vastly different. One can understand words and numbers to assess a situation, but one must also use their senses to put the plan into motion. There are tips and tricks within the refining process that can only be learnt on the production floor, by failing and trying again. Challenges and development areas for me include the physical labour requirements of the role, learning to manage others around me and building my reputation within a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Advancements in technology within the education sector and the workforce are constantly equipping engineers and metallurgists with the knowledge and skills required for specific tasks. The playing field is levelling out to remove stigma associated with gender so that women may accomplish the same, if not more, as their male colleagues. While it may still prove difficult, pioneering women who take on this challenge turn heads – we are the diamonds in the rough who are not to be underestimated.
Tell us about innovation at ABC Refinery, what are they doing to develop the industry further?
ABC Refinery continues to expand its gold and silver operations including investment in green refining technologies such as acidless (ALS) refining.
We have recently introduced the world’s first fully robotic multi-bar facility for the continuous production of precious metal ingots. This allows us to increase production rates and ensure that each investment product produced is identical in nature and of the highest standard.