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Falling in Ore of the Isa

by Pat 10. April 2012 09:34

Justin Falk, Account Director at The Unimail Group, recaps his visit to Mt Isa and the fantastic opportunities it holds for graduates who are part of Xstrata's graduate program.

In July last year, three of us from The Unimail team were lucky enough to be invited by Xstrata to visit Mt Isa with some of the graduates who were hoping to get onto the graduate program. Sounding like the start of a bad joke, an Englishman, a Canadian and a Zimbabwean boarded the Sydney flight ready for our first ever taste of the outback. Little did we know that in three days time, we would have all fallen in love with this amazing time, affectionately known as ‘The Isa’.

This beautiful town situated 1,830km NW of Brisbane has a population of approx 23,000 happy, smiling people, almost a quarter of which are directly employed by Xstrata. During our time on this visit one of the most stand out features of the town is the incredible positivity and community spirit.

And why wouldn’t you in this part of the world? This is a place that to us appeared to be the perfect playground for young graduates. There is definitely no shortage of space and with the whole community pulling together to always make sure that there is something going on. Most of the graduates that we spoke to spent most of their evenings and weekends playing golf, involved with plays and musicals, skiing, Cricket, rugby, netball, tennis, fishing, shooting, kayaking and the list goes on. Then there is also the continuous events that are organized such as the famous Mt Isa Rodeo which has helped Mt Isa earn the proud title of ‘Rodeo Capital of Australia’. For those feeling a little competitive, there are the Boulia Camel Races, the Lake Moondarra Barramundi fishing tournaments and an assortment of Balls and Black Tie events as a good excuse to break out the bowties or cocktail dresses on a regular occasion.

With copper, lead, zinc and silver all being mined from both open pit and underground mines there are some great opportunities for graduates to be involved with a number of functions and minerals during the rotations of the graduate program and this is another rare opportunity for young graduates to experience within their hometown. To get an idea of the vast size of the Mt. Isa mining operation, silver is just a byproduct of the extraction process and yet this ‘byproduct’ generates enough to pay for the salaries of every team member across the mines.

One of the main things we were expecting was that there would be an overwhelming number of men all looking for their lucky lady but this really wasn’t the case at all. Thanks to Wikipedia, Ive just discovered that the last consensus actually had the Isa male population at only 53% which is very low, especially for a mining town. This is just another of the unique features of this town.

During our trip we were also given the opportunity to get a tour of the mine and as city boys this was unbelievably exciting. Donning our overalls and protective gear, it was such a great experience to see the vast network of over 900km of underground tunnels and the massive joint effort that the whole team creates everyday that they venture underground or in the open pit mine.

Another great feature of Mt Isa is that most of the mining team actually live in Mt Isa as opposed to the usual fly-in, fly-out populations. One of the points that were raised by an ex-graduate who had worked in both environments was that this creates so much more community feel and the workforce actually have an incentive to give back to their hometown. So often in fly-in, fly-out environments, people working in that environment will be in town just to do their job and leave with their paycheck whereas in Mt Isa you see everyone getting involved in the community and taking part in all the activities on offer which ultimately is of great benefit to everyone.

As a graduate, if you are keen on working within the mining industry then I really couldn’t recommend Xstrata, and in particular Mt Isa enough. This is a not a job, this is a lifestyle and a fantastic one at that. With the amazing support of the team members and community ready and waiting for you, this could only be of great benefit to your future career. The is an undeniable charm about this great town and with the current CEO being an ex-graduate, the possibilities are endless.

Applications close at midnight on Sunday 15th April so don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to apply. To find out more, please visit www.xstratagraduates.com

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