Tag Archives: new professionals

Developing Your Mining Career: an Interview with James Lachlan Miller


As part of the  “Developing Your Mining Career” program, a career development program delivered in partnership with AusIMM’s New Professionals Committee and Floreat Consulting Australia, we are publishing a series of interviews with mining professionals who are having outstanding careers. Thank you to Spiro Pippos for conducting these interviews on behalf of the New Professionals Committee. 

James Lachlan Miller
  1. Please give a short overview of your career and describe your current role

I worked for Anglo American for 6 years across 3 continents where I worked in operations, project management, corporate planning and business improvement roles. My most recent position was as the Lead Process Engineer for a Greenfield niobium mine development in central Brazil. Currently I am completing an MBA at the London Business School with a view of moving into management consulting or private equity.

  1. What has had the largest positive impact on your career progression to support you in reaching your current role?

The advice and support of mentors, both academic and personnel. Mentors can provide a high-resolution external opinion on one’s career path. This advice has been particularly useful when provided by those who have walked in my shoes.

  1. What has been the largest challenge to your career progression? 

When performing at a high-level in your role, it is only natural that the immediate business unit will like you to stay where you are. Sometimes the interests of your company will conflict with your long-term interests. For this reason I found it critical always to be the master of your own progression and not expect the company to do it on your behalf.

  1. What surprised you about the work when you first moved into a role managing people? (if you have managed people)

People management is infinitely more difficult than technical problems. A technical challenge frequently has a clear answer. If it’s not known, there is always a book or theorem you can rely on to assist you. People are unique, however, and there needs, desires and motivations need to be clearly understood before you can expect to leverage their support.

  1. What is your advice to people starting out in their careers in the Mining sector?

The mining sector will always be cyclical, so agility is paramount. Don’t get pigeon holed and always have an alternative sector or role function to pivot to for when the cycle next hits its bottom!

  1. Can you tell us about how your network has supported and assisted your career along the way?

Nearly everything I have achieved professionally was through the support of my colleagues (specifically my managers and immediate team members).

  1. What are three interesting careers that you have seen your colleagues do or are aspiring to do?

Work in an investment house, consulting on the acquisition and disposal of mining assets in Switzerland.

Develop a software business providing customised geological mapping tools for resources (who shortly thereafter sold the aforementioned business to retire 20 years earlier than planned)

Work for an NGO as an operational planner in southern Africa, after leaving his career with the same role at a major mining firm.

AusIMM and Floreat Consulting Australia Collaborate to Foster Career Success among Young Mining Professionals

ausimm fca

AusIMM and Floreat Consulting Australia Collaborate to Foster Career Success among Young Mining Professionals

Young professionals working in the resources sector are set to benefit from a new suite of career development tools made available through AusIMM’s latest career development program.

AusIMM has partnered with Floreat Consulting Australia to roll out the “Developing Your Mining Career” program, designed for engineers and other mining professionals looking to maximise their potential in an increasingly competitive workforce.

The program consists of 4 information-packed webinars, exclusive online content and individual support. Participants will each work on their own career development plan as well as receive guidance and advice on how to make the most of their potential.

Ben Sedgwick, Immediate Past Chair of the New Professionals Committee, from AusIMM believes the program will help those working in the industry successfully navigate their career choices and secure long-term professional success. He says:

“We were looking to launch a program for our members that would help them build resilience in what is an often volatile industry. This program provides our members with the practical tools necessary to understand their potential and how that potential can be unleashed to maximise their own professional growth, as well benefit the organisations in which they work. This program will give young mining professionals the skills and confidence needed to set themselves apart and excel in their field”.

Director of Floreat Consulting in Australia, Sam Robinson, says Floreat Consulting Australia’s local and international experience has helped shape a unique program that has significant value for the Australian market.

“We have worked closely with AusIMM to ensure this program meets the distinct needs of the sector, and has a powerful impact on those that undertake it. We help individuals develop their own unique plan and career strategy that allows them to realise their career aspirations”.

The first cohort of the three month program will begin in September 2015. For registrations, visit the Registration Page.

Notes for Editors:

About the AusIMM New Professionals Network

The New Professionals Network (NPN) Committee consists of professionals within six years of graduating and includes representation from a mix of minerals industry professions from across Australia and internationally.

As a committee within the AusIMM, the membership base is diverse and is not exclusive to any age, race, nationality or religion. Covering FIFO, DIDO and residential minerals industry professionals, across all technical disciplines, the NPN represents a highly diverse group of individuals.

About The AusIMM

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM) was formed in 1893 and is the leading organisation representing over 13,500 minerals sector professional members in the Australasian region, across industry, government and academia.

Our members include professionals from traditional disciplines such as mining engineers, geoscientists and metallurgists, as well as from emerging disciplines such as business management, health and safety, social and environmental science.

With a focus on ‘enhancing professional excellence’, The AusIMM provides members with an ongoing program of professional development opportunities to ensure our members are supported throughout their careers to provide high quality professional input to industry and the community. For more information, please visit www.ausimm.com.au.

About Floreat Consulting Australia

At Floreat Consulting Australia, we want everyone to have an outstanding career. We are a consultancy that helps people to grow and develop their careers through one-on-one coaching and advice. And we support organisations through consulting and leadership development, graduate program design, succession planning, recruitment and selection. Examples of current and recent assignments include:

  • Developing early career technical professionals for peak industry association, Consult Australia
  • Supporting Malaysian oil major Petronas identify and develop high potential graduates
  • Identifying high potential future managers for NZ government Antarctic agency
  • Developing career paths for younger workers with Hunter Young Professionals