Mining companies playing catch-up with changing market conditions may be crying out for skilled workers to take up six-figure jobs these days.
It was not so when geologist Torrin Rowe graduated from the University of WA in the thick of the downturn.
Back then, gold and iron ore were on the wane and the employment market was so dry the 25-year-old took up a post-graduate degree in agricultural economics to wait out the tide.
After taking a punt on moving to Kalgoorlie-Boulder to follow his dream three years ago, Mr Rowe’s determination to remain in his chosen profession has paid off.
Working at Evolution Mining’s Mungari operations, the young rock-kicker was named the inaugural Imdex Exploration geologist of the year last month at the Raglan Drilling Geology Series at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Hannans Club.
“I came out and things were sort of at a real low point for mining so I went back and started a Masters of Agricultural Economics,” he said
“I was always interested in mining, so I picked up a gig with (former Mungari owner) La Mancha Resources that was actually not in a geology capacity.
“I started as a database and tenement administrator and then used that to weasel my way into geology.
“I rolled the dice a little bit.
“From the beginning I knew what I wanted to be doing and it was just a matter of trying to chase down that chance, and once you get your foot in the door the rest sort of comes when you put in hard work.”
Mr Rowe was rewarded ahead of seven other nominees from Australia, England and Burkina Faso for work he did on two new targets Evolution found around the historic Ora Banda camp known as Scottish Archer and Perimeter.
While Ora Banda is a mature area that has been mined since the early 1900s, Mr Rowe said the area around the drill targets was relatively untouched.
He said it was nice to have an award that acknowledged the work of young geologists.
“It didn’t have to go further than (the nomination) because exploration is a team effort, and then it going further than that was phenomenal,” he said.
“I think all the other nominees would have felt the same way. Just having a chance for the company to formally recognise them in the industry was a big positive out of it.”