Mineral exploration takes a lot of hard work, but sometimes the ‘next great find’ actually finds you.
This was the case for lithium miner Altura Mining, who lucked out when Amie Stanhope was assigned to its front desk by a work placement agency.
Amie had held clerical roles in other industries, but mining was a new game for her.
“Mining was something that I had always wanted to experience, but it was an area I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to be a part of,” she said.
However, Altura quickly recognised Amie’s unusual ability to rapidly learn new material and her temporary role soon turned into an offer for a permanent position as a purchasing officer for its Pilgangoora Mine, which Amie jumped on.
“My knowledge of what a purchasing officer was and what their duties entailed was something that I knew very little about, but I’ve always been a person driven by being stimulated and learning new skills and processes so when the opportunity was put to me, I was very keen to give it a go,” she said.
Like the company she now works for, Amie had to do some exploration of her own in the early days at Altura.
“Altura didn’t have a purchasing officer prior to me taking up the position so it’s been a position that has grown and developed based on the support, skills and guidance I have received and my own personal experiences and engagement,” she said.
Amie is no stranger to blazing new trails, spending her leisure time navigating the rugged terrain of the five-acres in Chittering she calls home from the back of her two horses, Barney and Brax.
This experience served her well as she set about establishing the purchasing officer position at Altura from the ground up.
“It was all so new and unfamiliar to me a year ago, I have learnt so much over the past year and have really grown into the role,” she said.
“I feel I now have a diverse skillset and am able to be involved in multi areas of the business, I have secured some significant savings and expedited many critical items to site over the past year.”
The position is now as familiar to her as the trails on her property, but it still requires her full attention to manage an impressive range of duties.
“Given that the Purchasing officer role was non-existent position a year ago, it has become such a critical part of the day to day operation of the mine,” she said.
“My day-to-day activities include locating vendors, materials, equipment and supplies; coordinating new supplier set ups; preparing reports; maintaining optimal stock levels and records, tracking savings and updating internal databases; and working with warehouse staff to ensure proper storage.
“There is so much opportunity to expand and grow your skill sets and experience different areas of the business.”
One of the aspects Amie values the most about her position is the opportunity it gives to support the local community by working with local suppliers.
“Purchasing locally is always the preferred option within our business and we are always striving to direct all purchases to local providers,” she said.
“Altura has a focus on using Indigenous and local Pilbara based contractors and suppliers for needs ranging from plant and equipment hire to shutdown crews and labour hire.”
Amie said building relationships with these suppliers was the key to seeing results.
“I have a good relationship with all my suppliers and local providers, they are able to get our goods and services to us on time and to the required quality and assist with any questions or expediting of critical parts urgently,” she said.
Just as a comfortable saddle makes a ride more enjoyable, so too does the support from Amie’s manager and colleagues make her professional journey smoother.
“The mining industry is one that is not fuelled by one person, it takes an entire team,” she said.
“My manager is of great support and is always providing positive feedback on the purchasing and expediting process.”
The mining industry unearthed a rare resource when it found Amie Stanhope, but it likewise offers her the fulfilment and challenges she was seeking.
“I am really enjoying my role and position at Altura, I have learnt a lot in the year and a half of my career and enjoy the diversity that comes with the position,” she said.
“At present I am just working to be the best Purchasing Officer that I can be and am always looking for training and development opportunities that will continue to help grow my knowledge and skills within the industry.”
Although Amie found herself on the mining road by chance, it’s one she’ll ride until she can’t anymore.