18 March 2021

Staff spotlight: Dean, Narrabri CHPP Team Leader

We recently spoke to the Dean Bakhuis, Team Leader at the Coal Handling and Processing Plant at our Narrabri underground mine to find out more about his pathway into the mining industry. Here’s what he had to say.

When did you join Whitehaven and why? I started at Narrabri in 2012 as a contract trades assistant, and now I’m employed by Whitehaven full-time as a CHPP Team Leader. Before that, I was a tyre fitter in Narrabri for 17 years. Back then there wasn’t much money in town, and the mine offered more opportunity to progress. 

Describe a typical day. On day shift, we start at 5:15am and finish at 6:15pm. First up it’s a shift handover with the outgoing supervisors, then a handover with the oncoming crew, where we talk about safety and our plan for the shift – so if there’s any machinery being serviced that day, which trains are being loaded, what blends, how many dozers we need to load that train. Then it’s catching up paperwork and helping out the team where I can, inspecting the CHPP and stockpiles, responding to process plant changes and equipment planned maintenance activities as well as attending daily planning and review meetings.

What’s your favourite part of the role? The people, the variety of work, and the training. I’ve learned better people skills, and I’ve been able to progress even though I didn’t have a trade. You get out what you put in, and if you put the right amount of effort in you can go places.

And the most challenging? For me, learning computers has been hard. I’ve been getting training and everyone’s helped me out whenever I’ve asked for it so it’s been good. 

What’s something people might not know about what you do? There’s a lot more computer work and paperwork than there was in tyre fitting – which has been good because I’ve learned a lot more. 

What do you like to do outside of work? Keeping my house tidy, lawns mowed and cars clean, and running around for school sports. Whatever my wife tells me to do!

See the current job opportunities at Narrabri and our other sites here.

Back to News

to top