The well-travelled mining engineer
Richard Horton, who graduated with his UNSW Bachelor of Mining Engineering in 2009, has travelled the world as a mining engineer. He started his career on a graduate program with MMG in North West Queensland before being offered the opportunity to work at the Sepon copper and gold mine in Laos, Southeast Asia, as a long-term mine planning engineer.
I worked as a mining consultant in Santiago, Chile for three months followed by three months in Lima, Peru, and got lots of opportunities to travel around Latin America
“After 18 months of fly-in fly-out to the site from Sydney, my wife and I moved to the capital city Vientiane. Living in Laos was a big change from living and growing up in Sydney and we took the opportunity to travel to some of Laos’ great tourist destinations, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, and being so close to Thailand, we often jumped across the border on the weekends to enjoy Thailand’s beaches,” he says.
Latin America was next on Richard’s list and he moved there to work for a company called Mining One. “I worked as a mining consultant in Santiago, Chile for three months followed by three months in Lima, Peru, and got lots of opportunities to travel around Latin America. Travel was a major reason for choosing a mining engineering degree, so to have that opportunity really early in my career was great.”
Richard has now found his niche in management consulting and works for Partners in Performance, based in their Sydney office. “I really love the variety and opportunity I’m afforded as a consultant, working in a broad range of industries assisting businesses unleash their potential and to succeed through challenging times,” he says.
“At the moment, we’re working on a coal mining business improvement project in the Hunter Valley. The job specifically involves working on projects to deliver more volume out of the mining operation, as well as more volume through the coal processing plant. Through this we’re able to reduce the unit cost through efficiency improvements in the way that the mining site operates.”
Looking back at his time at UNSW, Richard says that his degree was a great launching pad for some of the more practical things he would have to do as soon as he started his career. “One of the most important things I learned at Uni, that I didn’t appreciate at the time but which I really appreciate now, is structured communication. The ability to effectively communicate, whether it’s through reports or slides, is absolutely vital. I think UNSW, particularly the Mining School, put a lot of emphasis on that while I was going through, and I’ve really reaped the rewards.
But, for Richard, his all-time favourite memory from his time at UNSW is one that’s still very close to his heart. “My best memory is meeting my wife, who is also a mining engineer. We met in my second year and she now works for an research group evaluating gold assets,” he explains.