Ryan & Aleese Lees-Mulholland

Twin boom Jumbo & Underground Miner


Ryan & Aleese

Currently holds a world record for deepest underground wedding - 1km under ground!!!  


What type of Miner are you?
Ryan: Twin boom Jumbo 
Aleese: Road train driver, Underground miner and volunteer emergency response.


How long have you been mining and where are you currently mining?
Ryan: 6 years, Western Australia
Aleese: 12 years. I am currently out Leinster working for BHP.


What led you to a mining career?
Ryan: There’s no rain days underground and the jumbo is a crazy looking machine 
Aleese: Just the idea of wanting to operate some of the biggest machines in the world. I had no idea what that meant or how to get there but I tried the best way I could.


How do you stay alert and keep safety top of mind?
Ryan: Just be mindful of your actions and as we know you got to keep your underground family safe so no short cuts 
Aleese: Black coffee and staying of social media before bed. Haha but seriously. Routine, exercise, goals and wanting to come home safe for my family and husband.


What advice would you give a miner just starting out?
Ryan: Give it 3 months and you will stay for ever once you find your feet 
Aleese: Have some bloody go in ya !
2 ears and 1 mouth. Use in Use in proportion.
Ask the questions, no matter how dumb you look. I would rather look dumb asking then explaining why I effed up because I didn't ask.


What makes or breaks a job's success from your experience?
Ryan: Management and support ( lucky to have both great managers and support Within my company)
Aleese: Culture and leaders. Having the right people to mentor and pass down the knowledge. If you see a team or company failing. It's the ones that lead that have gotten them to that point.


Do you have any routine hacks, productivity hacks, or mindset hacks that make your job go better?

Ryan: Just remember our company’s core values( choose safety, show respect and deliver value)
Aleese: Find the most grumpy, old and experience miner that loves to have a yarn. They are usually the ones that will teach you the most. Good or bad. Set yourself goals. If you do it for the money you'll never succeed. Success comes from passion and loving what you do.


What is one thing you wish more people would know about mining?
Ryan: We use minerals for everything  stop mining you will stop everything 
Aleese: Its a lifestyle not a job. If you don't enjoy what you do, leave.


What's Your Favorite Thing to Do Outside of Work?
Ryan: Have to be working on cars 
Aleese: I'm a St. John's volunteer outside of work. Wish I stayed at school longer as I really enjoy being a medic. Maybe that's my next goal. Who knows :) But I love camping and going on adventures with my little doggo and my husband 🤍


Tell us about your mining journey:
Ryan: Started underground as a diamond drill offsider and quickly moved into shaft sinking after a few years at the moved to Westgold were I started my Airleg mining career and they have pushed my through the ranks now currently on the Jumbo and about to sit my shift supervisor exam 
Aleese: Grab a seat and buckle up !
Coming from a farming family back in New Zealand, one of my first jobs out of school at the ripe old age of 15 I had aspired to be a dairy farmer.

Young and naive I had heard about working in a mine one day in Australia. The land of opportunity. I saved my little heart out and moved to Australia at 19 expecting to land a job in the mine straight away. To my surprise, a young blonde 5 foot woman was met with doubt and ridicule. I couldn't get my foot in the door no matter how many times

I applied. Obviously met with " you need experience or to know someone to get in".

So I applied for a liquid licence and ended up getting a job on my first mine sites behind the bar. Back then I hadn't met a female operator. We were only seen as cleaners, bar girls and kitchen staff.

I spent my swings away building a rapport with management behind the bar and on my break working for a top bloke in Brisbane driving a concrete truck. He got free work from me and in return he would teach me how to drive trucks, Slump loads and how to deal with the ever so cocky concreter that tried to have a crack.

6 months had passed and he had offered me a full time job to drive in the city but I had my eyes set on becoming a miner.

I declined and took a job on my first mine outside of Dalby Queensland, after months of hassling and persistence I found a company that would give me a foot in the door. I had my experience and licence and I hit the ground running. I spent years driving trucks, eventually upgrading. Going on to driving singles, doubles, truck and dogs then eventually road trains. I did it !! I was in the big bangers.(Tripples). I thought I was king dick, country music blaring, smoke in one hand sliding through the 18 speed road ranger like a pro and at night, catch ups around a camp fire with the old ducks I worked with. Sharing their knowledge of the industry and having a laugh about the things they had seen on the road. Plus the occasional Thirsty Thursday trip to a local skimpy pub in an outback town.

I had Donny and Tom one of the old guys I worked with tell me about these quads and quinns in Western Australia over a few drinks one night.....and that was me. Bags packed on a flight to WA chasing my next dream.

WA trucking is something different, not for the light hearted and you need to have some decent balls and bush mechanics in your pocket. Braking down out back over there wasn't like Queensland. Your closest city was 4 hours plus away. On hot 50 degrees days if you didn't know how to wind back brakes or change a radiator hose or change a tyre quick smart you'll be in a world of hurt. And not to mention in my case, being a young wee blonde thing, I had my fair share of bullying, close calls and scares on the side of the road. (That's keeping it PG)

After whipping around in quads and quinns for a few years I ended up in the small out back town called Leinster.

After meeting the underground manager around the camp I was staying in, she convinced me to give underground a go. I was hesitant as I loved driving trucks and the adventures I had been on, but thought it would give it a whirl.

Now underground, I don't even know where to start. What a completely different world ! I fell in love instantly.

I started off at the bottom driving dump truck, nippering, driving the stores truck, Skippy, service crew, leading hand then onto trainee charge up.

I have so much love for the people and site. Leinster has been home to me on and off since 2016.

Can't cook it cold cob !


Aleese - Underground Miner

Get Featured with Miner Monday

Get Featured On

Miner Monday

Sign up to be featured on Miner Monday and share your experience and perspective with your fellow Miners.