Home' Plains Producer : PP_130410 Contents temperatures were almost always below zero
and reaching – 40C.”
Two years later, Jason was offered a senior
shift supervisor role in the mobile maintenance
team in Laos with Phu Bia mining, where he
“Here, I am a senior supervisor of a local
workforce and regional expats from Indone-
sia,” he said.
His role involves planning work, worker
safety and ensuring worker availability.
Jason said the Kyrgyz Republic a former
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
country, was a captivating place to work.
“The past history of the USSR is still
present and the place and culture is different
from the western world.
“Working with some Russians was also
“It’s funny to have the way I pictured
Plains Producer, Wednesday April 10, 2013
from top, Jason
mountains behind a
mine in Kyrgyzstan;
with armed security
guards in Laos,
working for Phua
Bia mining; with
Mark Graham and
brother Mark in
front of a giant CAT
mine truck and
finally, a view of the
FROM MALLALA TO
LAOS, JASON ENJOYS
Continuing an occasional feature in the
Plains Producer. Do you have a “quirky
career” or know someone who has an
interesting job? Call Louise Michael or
Les Pearson on 8862 1977.
FORMER Mallala resident and Balaklava
High School student, Jason Kennison,
has witnessed some of the most amazing
natural landscapes in the world but for him,
these views are just another day at the office.
“My current location, Laos, would so far
be my favourite,” Jason said.
“I can look out the office window and see
the Mekong River, hills and jungle.
“It’s beautiful scenery and I’ve got really
great people to work with.
“This mine site is also just coming out of
green fields and it would be one of, if not the
best, site I have seen or know of.
“Weather is mostly nice, you get some
rain in the wet season but overall just a great
team of people to work with in a great place.”
Within a matter of years, he went from
slugging it out at an Adelaide business to
contributing at some of the globe’s largest
and visually spectacular mines.
After finishing school in 2001, Jason com-
pleted a four-year apprenticeship as a heavy
vehicle mechanic with Cavpower at Enfield.
He worked there for six years, travelling
around the state. In 2007, Jason started work-
ing for Thiess at its new Greenfields mine site
at Prominent Hill and stayed there for three
years as a heavy duty mechanic.
“I was involved in the initial start up of the
maintenance side of the operation, from a tent
as a workshop, to a complete new workshop
and expanding fleet of Liebherr 700 tonne
996 excavators and Cat 793D trucks,” he said.
Jason then moved to central Queensland,
working for Hastings Deering on 400 tonne
CAT 797B mine trucks at the Dawson coal
“I completed a year for Hastings, before
getting a role over in Kyrgyzstan as a heavy
duty mechanic trainer for the local workforce
at a large gold mine in the beautiful Tien Shan
mountains, not far from the Chinese border,”
“This role was a mixture of supervising,
training, advising and a mechanic for a local
workforce from within the area, and a four
week on/off roster.
“The altitude was 14,600 feet, and the
AT HIS FEET
AT HIS FEET
Russians when growing up, then actually
meeting, living and working with some I can
see some things are comparable, but others
are just stereotypes.
“Turkey is also an amazing country to visit.
Istanbul is a place so rich in culture and history.
“Being at ANZAC Cove for the ANZAC
dawn service in 2012 was something I will
never forget, and would highly recommend
any Australian going to see.”
The mining industry has many future
pathways available to Jason, who intends on
travelling down many of them.
“With companies paying for flights, I
can get the chance to change and alter them
for longer stopovers or holidays in different
countries,” he said. “It is also great to get
the chance to work with so many different
cultures in different countries and meet new
people from around the world.
“Countries I have worked in have generally
been poorer countries without the training,
schooling and lifestyles we take for granted
in Australia, so it can be a challenge, but at
the same time very rewarding.
He is still living in Kyrgyzstan at the mo-
ment with his fiancé, who is also in mining with
a Masters diploma in mechanical engineering.
There are few aspects to his life he would
“I can’t complain too much as I have
enjoyed every opportunity I have been given
but as always in mining, being away from my
fiancé, family and friends is tough,” Jason said.
It’s not just Jason who has fallen in love
with mining life, his brothers and sister’s
husband all have careers in mining now.
“Our father was a miner from way back,
working in Australia and South Africa,” he
said. “After a year at Prominent Hill, I was able
to open up the door for my sister’s (Michelle)
husband Mark Graham.
“Not long after that, my younger brother
(Mark) also joined up while already having
a mechanic trade with McCracken Ford in
“Soon after he was offered the chance to
complete a second trade as an auto electrician
with Thiess, which is great.
“Since I have been working overseas,
my youngest brother Chris has also been
employed at the same site and is working on
the ‘bomb squad’ (blast crew), dealing with
the blasting of the ground for digging, and
is now getting his ‘shot firer’ qualification.
“It’s a great feeling to be in another country
and know that they have all worked hard,
doing well in their respective fields, and are
all happy at the same place I was given my
“They all had different backgrounds before
mining, all given an opportunity and earned
their stripes by working hard made the most of
it to get themselves and their families ahead.
“Life is good.”
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