People and culture

JUNE 2024

Wendy’s processing life her own way

Meet Wendy White, Processing Operator at Fosterville Gold Mine.

Wendy is a born and bred Victorian who has lived in Bendigo for over 20 years, but hales from the tiny farming town of Penshurst, 45 minutes north of Warrnambool.

“I have always had a curiosity about mining, but never dreamed I would actually work at one,” she says.

“It is a complete departure from everything I have done before, but I love everything about it; from dealing with the every day challenges, the people and culture; as well as the financial security it provides my family,” enthuses Wendy.

What does a Process Operator do?

Being a process operator has a mundane ring to it, but Wendy is quick to defend this misconception.

“Basically, a process operator is responsible for monitoring the processes that get the gold out of the ore that is produced from underground,” she summarises.

To do this, Wendy – who is part of one of four crews that monitor five different circuits, 24 hours a day – provides field data to metallurgists who use it to assess whether the circuits are running at maximum capacity.

“While we do follow the same monitoring process each time, there are always random things that come up which keep us on our toes and require a flare for troubleshooting,” she explains.

Change is as good as a holiday

For Wendy, her working life has never been set in stone.

“I love learning and being challenged, no matter what it is I am doing,” says Wendy.

As a child Wendy’s plan was to become a piano teacher and when that didn’t eventuate, she did a chef’s apprenticeship instead.

“I moved to Bendigo for love and initially operated a café in Bendigo in the early 2000s, but sold it when my kids came along, opting to work as a chef at various venues, until I’d had enough of chef hours, and got a more family friendly position in admin,” she recalls.

“Admin was great, but after a while I realised that desk work wasn’t really my thing and was wanting to do something more physical, when I saw the advert for a process operator,” Wendy continued. 

Proud to be part of the team

Wendy was a bit intimidated when she first joined the processing team as the only woman in a 10 person crew, but has been impressed by the supportive workplace culture that exists within her team and across the entire site. .

Now she feels right at home in the processing plant and is proud of the work that she does each day; and to be part of a business that is community-minded.

“When I think of Fosterville’s approach to community, the first word that comes to mind is generosity … the mine often steps in to help out when the community is struggling and supports so many community events and projects both big and small, not to mention the many additional jobs that are supported through all the contractors who provide services on site.”

“That’s why I think Fosterville Gold Mine is a great place to work,” Wendy concludes.

Not a bad view to start the day!