Mining boss shares top tips for success in resources industry
6/11/2023. By Carmelle Wilkinson.
Josh Redmond, Operations Manager at Emerald Resources.
Curtin WA School of Mines’ graduate and Harvard Business alumnus Josh Redmond has experienced many triumphs over his 15-year career in the resources industry.
Starting as a vacation student for Mining and Civil Contractor company MACA, he worked his way up through various roles including mine engineer, project manager, country manager and then general manager.
Now the Operations Manager at Emerald Resources, Josh said seeing people develop their careers and learn new skills was incredibly rewarding.
“It is a privilege to be on the WASMA committee and have the opportunity to give back by supporting students, graduates, and our Alumni,’’ he said.
“The WA School of Mines is an elite institution with a strong culture and passion for mining.
“My time in Kalgoorlie set me up with the right grounding, industry contacts and a world-class education which has allowed me to pursue a fantastic career and establish lifelong friends within the industry.”
Alongside building his mining career, Josh has been actively involved in charity work in Uganda East Africa for the past nine years, helping build a school for children with special needs.
Joining the board for the Angel’s Centre for Children with Special Needs in 2017, Josh said volunteering in this space was particularly close to his heart, as his younger brother Izaak, was born with down syndrome.
No matter what part of the world his career took him to – whether it was the remote jungle of Brazil or a small village in Cambodia – Josh said volunteering in Uganda had grounded him and given him a new perspective on life.
Josh’s advice for WASM graduates.
Your time at WASM is special. Make the most of it.
My closest friendships to this day were formed at WASM.
When I first arrived in Kalgoorlie I got off to a very mixed start.
On one hand, I had just received two scholarships, but on the other I was on the verge of getting kicked out.
I had a lot of growing up to do and it was my peers and lecturers that helped me to mature and successfully graduate.
That’s what WASM was for me, it was a strong and supportive culture full of camaraderie.
It didn’t matter where you grew up or what your background was, when you came to Kalgoorlie you formed an incredibly strong bond with your peers and became embedded into the WASM culture – and that stays with you for life.
A career in the resources industry is exciting and incredibly rewarding.
Josh with colleagues in Cambodia.
It is amazing where a degree in mining can take you.
After gaining a good amount of experience through vacation work following graduation, I completed my graduate program at MACA within a year and went straight into leadership roles from there.
I was mine superintendent at 24, senior engineer at 25 and by the time I was 26 I was a project manager in the remote north of Brazil, managing a large team and learning a second language.
When I was 31, I was promoted to country manager, and we went and built Cambodia’s first industrial scale mine and at 33 I became general manager overseeing a workforce of over 1200 and a $500 million budget.
It’s always a bit uncomfortable talking about yourself but looking back I have been very fortunate in the roles I accepted.
Yes, I work hard, and yes, I spend a large portion of time living in remote camps, but I have a ton of fun along the way.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, train teams in developing countries, learn a second language, give back to the community and help develop younger engineers.
Working overseas, I feel we’ve had the opportunity to change people’s lives. We’ve introduced people to the industry and skilled them in a profession that they can take with them for life.
Make yourself visible in a company and don’t give up.
Josh with MACA colleagues.
Make sure you are present and visible in your organisation.
Promotions rarely just land on your desk, so be that person your boss talks about when describing the top talent in the company.
Have a point of difference so that you stand out from the rest of your colleagues.
In 2014 when we won our first contract in Brazil, there were many from the company putting their hand up to go over, yet I was in the first team picked.
And it wasn’t because I was the best engineer but more so that I had taken the time to build relationships within MACA, I was involved in our community work, and I was popping into the head office on my breaks and any chance I could get.
Also – don’t give up on things lightly, you will face many setbacks throughout your life and throughout your career, but it’s what we do with these setbacks that makes a difference.
When I first applied for Harvard, my application was rejected.
In the eyes of the panel, I had not accomplished enough.
I was devastated but it didn’t deter me.
That year I continued working in Brazil, spending my breaks volunteering in Uganda which led to me joining Angels Centre for Children with Special Needs.
I helped reinvigorate the charity, start up a guest house for volunteers and set up traineeship programs with universities in Belgium and Germany for volunteering in Uganda.
When I applied again the following year after these experiences, my application was quick to be accepted.
Claim value but also look to create value.
Josh said volunteering in Uganda had been life changing.
While on my grad program, another grad and I got an offer from a MACA Engineer, our senior, to tag along on a volunteering trip to Uganda.
We would’ve been crazy to knock back this offer and wound-up teaching English at a school for underprivileged children.
Upon our return, my colleague and I conjured up the courage to ask our company to sponsor the school and to this day, MACA still sponsors that school – helping to educate hundreds of kids ever since.
When I started at Harvard, I thought to myself, what else can I get from my time here?
So, I pitched to my classmates the construction of a new angel’s centre as a legacy project for our year, something that our cohort could be remembered by.
Remarkably, my idea struck a chord, and swiftly, we found ourselves breaking ground back in Uganda.
From that, we were able to build a brand-new school in Uganda which as we speak has classrooms full of children.
Joining MACA as a grad was claiming value, getting MACA to sponsor our school was creating value.
Going to Harvard and receiving a world class education was claiming value, fundraising while there and building a school was creating value.
Enrolling into WASM is claiming value.
How will you create value?
If you are fortunate enough to give back, definitely consider it. These experiences will bring you great joy and fulfilment.
Josh is a huge advocate for giving back.
Volunteering in Uganda taught me the importance of giving back.
It’s now my favourite place in the world. It’s where I feel most grounded. It keeps me in touch with reality and reminds me to live a more wholesome and meaningful life.
While it’s important to push yourself and make yourself visible in a company, climbing the corporate ladder isn’t the most important thing in life.
And you are unlikely to be remembered for that.
Your legacy isn’t going to be the titles you held, or how much you earned, it’s going to be what you helped create and the people you helped develop along the way.