In the thick of the action

Joanne Joyce’s busy maintenance admin role entails wearing many hats in support of National Group’s team at Cadia.

Joanne Joyce was eager to experience life on a mine site. She’d worked for other mining-service companies during her career, but never on-site.

In late 2021, Joanne joined National Group as a Maintenance Administrator for its contract at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia gold mine in Central New South Wales.

“Instead of being behind the scenes, I wanted to be in the scene at a mine site,” says Joanne. “I wanted to see what happens at a mine and how the equipment is used.”

Today, Joanne watches giant dump trucks drive past National Group’s office at Cadia. She lives and breathes the mine – and loves her role.

“It’s been a fantastic experience so far,” says Joanne. “I’d heard really good things about National Group before I joined and Cadia is an amazing mine to work at.”

In 2021, Newcrest awarded National Group a surface-mining contract at Cadia. National Group is supplying Caterpillar 994K and 988K Large Wheel Loaders, Caterpillar 793 Dump Trucks and Hitachi ZX890 Excavators.

Led by Murray Grimes, Maintenance Superintendent for National Group at Cadia, the team at the mine has grown to 35 and continues to expand.

That’s created a busy role for Joanne. Her work ranges from maintainance planning, scheduling and data entry in National Group’s AMT system, to site compliance, staff onboarding and inductions, organising medicals, rostering and purchase orders.

“I wear a lot of hats in this job to support and help the team,” says Joanne. “There’s a lot to do as the team grows, but I like being busy and enjoy being part of a team where everyone gives 100% each day. We have an excellent group here.”

Joanne says her focus is on continuous improvement. “My goal is to make sure the admin here runs as efficiently as possible for National Group. We spend a lot of time making sure all the right procedures and processes are in place, and that everything to do with admin is heading in the right direction. It’s a tight ship.”

Joanne’s experience in mining services and her training are advantages in the role. After school, she began a mechanical apprenticeship, then worked as a parts interpreter in the car industry. In the past few years, she has completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources and a Certificate IV in Workplace Health & Safety.

“I’ve always liked working on parts and service administration,” says Joanne. “But to be in the thick of it at a big mine site, and to see that work in action, is something else.”

Work/life balance

As a mother of three grown-up children (her youngest is 17), Joanne values the flexibility of her role. She works four days on, three days off for National Group at Cadia, and commutes from her farm at Ophir (northeast of Orange) to work.

Joanne is one of four women in the National Group team at Cadia. “I’ve found working on a mine site provides a really good work/life balance. The work days are full on, but you get plenty of time off to spend with family. I’d absolutely encourage other women to consider a career at National Group or a mining company, and work at a mine site.”

Since working at Cadia, Joanne has developed an interest in National Group’s remote-controlled dozers and semi-autonomous tractor systems. “It’s awesome technology,” says Joanne. “I really like learning about new mining tech and automation. There’s always something new happening at work.”

Joanne’s role has expanded since joining National Group. Earlier this year, she visited the company’s head office at the Gold Coast for a few days to liaise with other admin staff and meet the team. “It was a terrific experience,” she says. “National Group has an amazing culture. I haven’t worked anywhere like this before.”

As to the future, Joanne says a career in project management appeals. “Over time, I hope to work more on the project side of things. I’d like to visit other mine sites and see what works for them on admin and use those learnings to help set up other National Group projects. But for now, my focus is on doing a good job for National Group at Cadia.”