Melanie de Leon
Geoscientific Systems & Data Specialist
Who do you work for?
Rio Tinto Exploration
What does your job involve?
As a Geoscientific Systems & Data Specialist, I am responsible for providing and administering data management solutions for the Australasia region of Rio Tinto Exploration. This entails ensuring that users have the capacity to collect the data that they require, this data is stored in a reliable manner and it is easily accessible to the user.
Why did you choose to work in this sector?
I started working as a geologist which channelled me into the mining/exploration industry. The company I was working with at the time was growing from exploration into resource definition (aspiring to commence mining) and they required a more reliable method of acquiring and warehousing the vast amount and range of data they planned on collecting. I volunteered myself to become their database administrator.
What is the most rewarding part of your current job?
My job is incredibly dynamic and challenging, making it interesting and exciting. Due to the global capacity of Rio Tinto Exploration, I am able to meet and work with lots of interesting people from different disciplines and from different parts of the world. I also get to travel quite a bit!
What has been one of your recent achievements?
As I work in a service department, knowing that I have been able to successfully help users in delivering ore grade resources is exceptionally satisfying. Consequently, I have recently been given the opportunity to travel to India to work on a larger, on-going project.
What is the most challenging part of your current job?
I think the most challenging part of my job is being able to juggle different aspects of my role. Decisions on when/where exploration will be conducted and what commodity will be explored for during the year can change so quickly that I need to be able to adapt and determine an ideal workflow solution for users.
What do you hope to do in the future?
I try to use my interests and openness to on-going learning to drive my aspirations. At this moment in time, I am looking forward in gaining more experience and knowledge in the world of databases and SQL.
What are some of the other benefits of your job?
Not only do I look after data in/data out, I also help on developing workflows surrounding data collection and as a consequence am exposed to new forms of technology – both software and hardware. Also, my work environment comprises a wide variety of countries, cultures and work surroundings (i.e. city/field work), as well as with a range of expertise, for example logistics, health and safety, geologists, geochemists, geophysicists making it exciting.
What training did you have for this job?
I studied a Bachelor of Science (Geology & geophysics major) with honours (in metamorphic petrology). I also gained a lot of training on the job when learning to be a database administrator.
What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?
Don’t get too bogged down in deciding what industry or line of work you want to work in. Sometimes different things in life and opportunities will pop up and will help pave a course for you.
To find out more about how Rio Tinto supports classroom teaching and learning in maths, science and business studies for young people aged 12-16 visit SMART, our free international education portal. Using a combination of interactive whiteboard presentations, printable lesson plans, worksheets and case studies, students can explore how their academic studies relate to real-world operations in a major global business.