With more than 30 years of in-house experience on drilling techniques, maintenance and training, Ausmain has fast become renowned for its teams of drill specialists who are highly motivated, well-equipped and eager to share their technical expertise.
But just as important as the ability to deliver the highest level of maintenance, the privately-owned WA company prides itself on training and mentoring its clients, both domestically and internationally.
The company’s trained technicians and specialists are led by General Manager Jonathan O’Reilly and Operations Manager Daniel McLeod.
Both men boast highly experienced mining industry tenures in their resumes.
Jonathan is a manager with a demonstrated history of working in the equipment, servicing and training industry, skilled in developing people and identifying high potential employees and actively training, coaching and mentoring them to develop their skills and capabilities to achieve high level results. His experience is in open pit quarries and underground mining industries.
Daniel is a maintenance industry professional who has held positions both in Australia and internationally as an expatriate. These roles have included placements in Saudi Arabia, various Central Asian countries and South America, where he was involved with technical training roles and supervisory positions. In Australia, Daniel has held positions ranging from drilling product specialist to management roles within marketing.
Training And Mentoring
Ausmain offers reputable and successful training and mentoring programs to its customers, helping to boost safety, confidence and productivity as employees improve their skills and become more efficient as a result.
“We’re starting to see a real shift in how quickly people are moving up into drilling rigs, for example,” Daniel said. “We can assist in training them to become competent in their field.
“We are seeing many new starters coming into the industry. At one time it was common for people to have to spend three to four years on a truck before progressing, but these days they are moving more quickly through the different aspects of mining, even up to G2 level, a competency needed for statutory mining positions.
“We live in a society where speed is of the essence and companies want things to happen quickly; previously it was expected for employees to take a while to earn their stripes before moving to a more advanced role, but they are now doing this within 12 to 24 months.
“So there are a lot of green starters and COVID has definitely had a lot to do with that. The number of FIFO workers from the eastern states has dropped off, companies have had to transition people quite quickly into roles they didn’t necessarily have them earmarked for initially.”
“Handling the COVID situation and navigating this has been a challenge for all companies.” Jonathan said. “It has meant putting processes in place to protect people in the industry and the community as a whole. As a service provider we have worked closely with our customers and our staff to ensure, first and foremost, their health and wellbeing is protected through this time, whilst also continuing to provide our services onsite.”
Jonathan and Daniel focus on working together with their clients to satisfy their requirements.
“We look to work with customers on their specific requirements, and customise training packages to suit, rather than supplying generic training packages,” Daniel said.
“These packages are then sent to the customer for review and approval prior to undertaking the project.
“We believe this to be a positive approach as we aim to give customers value for money, rather than training for the sake of training.
“For example, if customers are looking for machine-specific training – whether that be machine familiarisation, or basic servicing through to in-depth training on a specific function – we look to provide a tailored package to suit that requirement.”
All training is delivered by Cert 4 trainers and assessors and, where required, the use of a subject matter expert, to ensure the highest quality of training is delivered.
An example of this is the use of drill plan handling, auto boom positioning and navigation methods used on Epiroc production drills.
“This is something that is provided to already experienced drillers as an addition to their current skills set,” Daniel said.
“We start off by understanding the workers’ basic knowledge of the machines, understanding what they know, and their skillsets,” Daniel said.
“Once we know that, we know where we can focus on to upskill them.”
“We train about machines’ control systems (eg (Can Bus) or Direct Control Systems) as well as the actual mechanics.”
“We always get a big kick out of guys analysing a machine and diagnosing something correctly.”
Training is carried both internally for Ausmain’s own work force and also externally, when sought out by other mining companies to mentor their staff.
“It’s not entirely out of the question for individuals to come in and ask about helping to upskill themselves,” Daniel said.
Much of the onsite training is a one-on-one or with small groups.
“We can transition into classroom type teaching, depending on the customers’ requirements and with our RTO (registered training organisation) partnership, we can provide nationally accredited certifications,” Daniel said.
“Trainees can also acquire a VOC (verification of competence), which lets employers know they have a basic knowledge of practical/theoretical mechanics in production or development drills.”
Development drills include mining jumbos and rigs for applications ranging from face drilling for small-scale mine development to large-scale tunnelling, while production drills are units used for long hole directional drilling.
Ausmain’s overseas training programs have been affected by bans on travel due to COVID, but the company hopes to return to, and expand on them once countries get the virus under control.
“The focus is heavily on Australia at the moment, but we are definitely looking to overseas in a few years’ time,” Daniel said.
“For example, the Middle East is aiming for a 2030 target, so it is heavily focused on upskilling its own workforce and not bringing the high number of expat labour in, like it currently does. We plan on helping those countries and companies based there to do that.”
Currently Ausmain also carries out remote work for overseas customers, involving diagnosing procedures for clients who can’t fly in workers.
The Maintenance Motto
Ausmain began as a maintenance company, aiming to become one of the most respected suppliers in the global mining industry.
Its expertise includes underground top hammer or in-the-hole production, development and raisebore drilling equipment.
Backed by the solid background in the drill and blast sector and in all underground mobile equipment, as well as focus on quality assurance, Ausmain provides personnel for positions such as:
- Maintenance Supervisors and Trainers
- Heavy Diesel Fitters
- Automotive (light vehicle) Fitters
- Auto Electricians
- High Voltage Electricians
- Machine Operator Trainers
The company’s philosophy is based on partnering with a select number of clients and aiming to offer a better service than its competitors.
“The key focus for us as a maintenance provider is not just to be another contractor on site,” Daniel said.
“The company sets itself apart by ensuring our personnel are continuously trained and upskilled.
“We strive to provide a high level of service by engaging the best talent, and going above and beyond what our customers expect from a maintenance and training partner.
“We continuously monitor our staff to ensure they perform their duties safely, to competent levels for the equipment they are maintaining, and liaise with customers.
“This shows customers that they are valued, that our staff are valued and are also accountable for the service they provide.
“We make sure they are mentored well and communicate with the client all the time.”
Ausmain also visits customers often, keeping them apprised of work being carried out, and also updating on requirements and improvements if needed.
“We have several strings to the bow,” Daniel said.
“We are looking to become a one-stop shop focusing heavily on new technology and the bare bones of hydraulics.
“While we are mechanics at heart, we aim to to evolve and move into different areas of industry, and become more than just a provider.”