Note: Our new series on mining for 2020-2021 will feature second generation miners in our region. This month we profile Aimee Mundy-Ellison with BHP.
“This is what I’m meant to do,” according to Aimee Mundy-Ellison.
In 1924, Hopkin Williams worked underground at the Old Dominion mine.
100 years later, his great granddaughter Aimee Mundy-Ellison works as Principal for Health Safety Environment at BHP in Miami. Responsible for fostering a health and safety culture, Aimee guides employees and contractors in health and safety standards.
“The leaders of each department are responsible for safety,” she says. “I am a resource for them, someone to lean on.”
This includes help with documentation, safety meetings and refresher training, workplace inspections and recommendations for implementation and improvement of health and safety controls.
“As a kid, I never had any desire to work in mining,” Aimee says.
At age 4, she moved with her mother and brother to Globe, to live with her grandfather, Richard “Dick” Williams. He worked in Castle Dome, Copper Cities and Pinto Valley mines. As a mine foreman; he trained operators and directed mining in the open pit. He left for work in a hardhat and carried a lunch pail.
“As a kid, I thought of mining as digging up dirt,” Aimee says, “You don’t see all the other things that are available to you.”
Aimee got a good look at what was available to her when she landed a temp job at Magma (later purchased by BHP) in the spring of 1992. Her job was to “pull together old documents” and “follow a geologist around.” She and the geologist spent hours collecting historical documents and maps, reading them and cataloging them for future use.
“That was the best job to have to see what mining was really about,” says Aimee, “I learned what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it.”
Career with BHP
Aimee’s temp job led to full-time work in mining, and an “amazing mentor” in Frank DalMolin, the Safety Coordinator whom she worked with for nearly 20 years. The experience exposed her to working with regulators as well as the emergency management systems development that occurs at higher levels within the organization.
“I learned that I was really good at training people,” Aimee says, “and my passion for health and safety could be used to help others understand why certain things were important.”
BHP’s tuition assistance program helped pay for Aimee’s ongoing education. She earned a B.S. in Business Management and a Masters in Emergency & Disaster Management online through American Military University. Fellow students included people from FEMA and the military. She was the only one from the mining industry at the time.
Aimee has been in mining for 28 years. She began her career working for active mines. Now her career is focused on mine closures.
“The challenge is to take 100 years of mining and return the land to the way it was,” she says, “or give it a new life.”
She says the ability to find new sites and develop new mines depends on what is done to close properties, in ways that are good for the communities. She’s proud to work for BHP because it “takes the evolutionary part of mining seriously.”
“This is my home, too.” Aimee says, “I want to see Globe-Miami thrive.”
Her daughter, Erin Ellison Wager got her 4th generation start in mining — a summer job in the HR department at BHP. While sorting laborer applications, she found hers in the ‘no’ pile. The reason: lacking equipment operator skills. Her father, Alfred Ellison, who also works for the mines, taught her to drive a forklift and skid steer that he borrowed from a contractor friend. She reapplied and got hired as a laborer in the Mill and Crusher. Now she’s pursuing a nursing degree and may consider occupational health.
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.