Have you been thinking about taking on an expat position in a remote area, yet would like to know more about day-to-day life on a mine site. This week’s Q&A session with Amanda Cotton should help give an insight from an experienced expat.
Amanda worked as the HR and Expatriate Affairs Manager at Glencore’s Katanga Mining operation in DRC. Currently Amanda is working as an Independent Consultant for a gold mining firm in Africa and is on the Exco of Women in Mining (UK).
Amanda has already offered her advice for people who are considering an expat role and shared her experience of working at a mine site. However, it goes without saying that an expat assignment consists not only of working at a mine site, but also spending pretty much your whole time over there. This week, Amanda and I will be discussing non-working life at a remote mine site.
AER – Hello Amanda. Thank you for already third Q&A session with us. On behalf of AER International and our readers – welcome.
AC – Thank you for having me, third but not last!
AER – Amanda, I understand that working at a mine site takes a majority of expat’s time. However, I believe an expat is keen to use their free time in a best manner possible. What is the life on a mine site really outside of work. Is there anything to do apart from working?
AC – Many sites where possible, try to provide recreational facilities for their expatriate employee population, that could be anything from a communal bar area, bbq/braai area to a tennis court. Living and working at a mine site is usually a very social environment, especially for the expatriate population. For me, my day job meant I was heavily involved with people usually from the minute I stepped out of my accommodation in the morning to the moment I went back into my front door in the evening and everywhere in between. So for me, if I had any free time, I was often very happy to retreat to my accommodation and have some quiet time, although, we were lucky enough at the camp I lived at to have enough space to get out for a run and we also had a gym, so I also was able to get out to exercise fairly regularly.
AER – It is definitely good to have some quiet time for yourself, especially after working long hours. Consequently, the accommodation itself must be good enough to be tempting to retreat to. What are usual living conditions at a mine site?
AC – Living accommodations can vary hugely from site to site. There can be anything from trailer/caravan style accommodation through to purpose built homes on gated/security camps or even a ‘normal’ style home in a local village/town, these often will come with 24/7 security in areas of higher risk.
AER – You mentioned before that living and working at a mine site is a very sociable experience. I can’t even imagine how many funny stories you have up your sleeve. To finish this interview, would you like to share to our readers any unusual or funny incidents which happened while you were working at a mine site?
AC – Too many funny incidences to share them all! One thing that is not work specific though that makes me chuckle about working in the DRC is the day a goat walked into my office! We had lots of small goats roaming around the local area and the mine site. One day I was the only one left in the office as I was working late and in trotted this goat through the front door, along the corridor and down to my office!!
AER – Hahaha. That must have been quite odd to be approached by a goat at work. Amanda, it was wonderful to have a chat with you once again. I hope to see you next week for our fourth Q&A.
AC – I will be here. Thank you for the invitation!
AER – Next week Amanda and I will be discussing her experience while working as an HR and Expatriate Affairs Manager at a mine site. Please follow AER International on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for more news and insights.