Dyno Nobel Operators Going that Extra Mile

Despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s so many good news stories from around the business. President Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific Greg Hayne shares a couple from his business.

Despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s so many good news stories from around the business. The travel restrictions are really disrupting our operators from getting to and from sites but that hasn’t stopped them from thinking outside the box to find innovative ways of managing the situation. In particular at our Dyno Nobel Hard Rock sites of McArthur River in the Northern Territory and Lihir Gold Mine in the New Ireland province of Papua New Guinea.

McArthur River Open Cut Zinc Mine, Northern Territory

McArthur river is an Open Cut Zinc mine in the NT operated by Glencore and is run by a Supervisor and two operators back to back on 15 days on, 13 days off roster. Although three of our Blast Operators live in New Zealand (Mick Morrow and Shane McDermott) and Queensland (Pete Thomas), they are all based at the McArthur River site and work on a FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) basis.

Shane had finished his shift and was already home in New Zealand and Mick and Pete were preparing to Fly Out, having finished their 15 day shift. Travel restrictions, State border closures and the New Zealand lock down made this almost impossible to manage, and left the team trying to work out how to keep the mine operational with blasting, as both Mick and Pete would be able to get home but then wouldn’t be able to get back in because of the State border closures.

Working with their Leader Jamie Budd, Mick and Pete both made a big decision to remain in the Northern Territory to ensure the mine could keep operating. Both have sacrificed their rest time at home and with their families, and will back to back each other, staying in Darwin until the Government restrictions on State borders and travel is relaxed. They made this decision so that our customer was able to continue to operate the mine – a selfless decision of which I am incredibly inspired by.

Above: Mick & Pete practicing Physical Distancing with video conference

Lihir Open Cut Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea

Lihir is yet another example of our teams living our Values and going the extra mile for the business and our customers. Lihir is an Island in the New Ireland province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) where we service an Open Cut Gold Mine operated by Newcrest. This provides even more hurdles due to being in another Country and the respective border controls implemented by both Countries. When news first broke of the travel restrictions involving self-isolation Jamie Merrick, one of our Blast Managers on site agreed to do an extra swing of two weeks which would allow the Site Manager (Wayne Plant) to get back to Perth and self-isolate before returning. However, the team then had the additional hurdle to overcome when the State borders were going to close. Because Wayne was still in self-isolation he wouldn’t be able to get back to relieve Jamie. 

The mayday call was made to Jamie’s back to back, Neil Coffey who was on his break at the time - giving him just one day notice to leave his home in Australia and return to PNG. Neil didn’t hesitate and dropped everything to get himself on the flights and get into Lihir in the nick of time. Both of these examples are truly inspirational and demonstrate how our peoples’ comradeship's, teamwork and support really make things happen, and continue to keep our businesses and operations running safely, despite the constantly changing environment. There are many examples of these innovative approaches going on all over our business and I want to thank all of you on behalf of our entire leadership and that of our customers’, for going that extra mile, making a real difference and keeping our operations running safely in these unprecedented times.

Shared by Greg Hayne, President Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific