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AECOM mining engineer Caitlyn Rothnie is fascinated by metals

AECOM mining engineer Caitlyn Rothnie is fascinated by metals

 October 21, 2021

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AECOM People Spotlight series gives an inside look at technical experts around the world.

As part of the series, AECOM is highlighting a mining engineer, Caitlyn Rothnie, from its Energy business in Australia New Zealand and providing an insight into her inspiration and work.

Caitlyn has over twenty years of experience in mineral processing across operating, design and project environments, predominantly for the alumina industry. In addition to her alumina industry expertise, she has design experience with lithium hydroxide, coal, iron ore, silicon, vanadium, nickel processes.

As project design manager, Caitlyn has managed multidisciplinary engineering and design teams to achieve engineering delivery on time and within budget for various projects of up to $50M.

As lead process engineer, she has built and led a strong process engineering team to support several Alumina industry capital project programs.    

What inspired you to join the industry? 

I’'ve always been fascinated by how ordinary rocks are turned into incredible metals that are used for all sorts of purposes. I elected the Mineral Processing subjects whilst studying Chemical Engineering at the University of NSW. With my love of traveling to remote places across Australia, my first graduate job was in North East Arnhem land, which was a remarkable location for an Alumina refinery (the first step to making aluminium). That’s where it all began!

In this ever-changing world, there will always be complex problems that will require innovative engineered solutions. What excites me is working with both experienced and young minds as integrated teams, to develop these solutions. I am looking forward to these teams being diverse which provides great opportunities for increased female engineer participation.

What's your favorite AECOM project you’ve worked on and why? 

I don’t have a favorite project, as I enjoy working on different aspects of a variety of mining and mineral processing projects. I like how mining assets and mineral processing facilities need input and expertise from so many different engineering and technical disciplines. Recently, I worked on an interesting South32 project at GEMCO with the Hydrogeologist team. It was great to gain an understanding of how knowledge of groundwater movement can assist and provide financial benefits to the manganese mining process.

Also, working with BHP on the Olympic Dam Village project, I loved learning how the community design aspects impact the success of the resulting project. Having lived in single-person quarters when I was a graduate, I am now excited to see the significant changes to modern-day villages. Remote mine site accommodation has come a long way over the years! Nowadays we are creating a community and focusing on both the mental and physical health of the remote living.

Pulling together the South 32 Global Master Services Agreement proposal was highly valuable in making connections with AECOM teams in the USA, Canada, Columbia, and South Africa. It grew my understanding of our global capabilities within AECOM. It was nice to share and collaborate with our teams all over the world.

I do have to say, I have a soft spot for alumina projects. Alumina processing just has so many different unit operations and so many pieces of equipment, that there is always lots of opportunities for learning and improvements. I started at AECOM working on an expansion and optimization study on an existing refinery here in WA for ALCOA. That was interesting, although challenging as it was 90% heavy brownfields. My fingers are always crossed that we can work on developing a future new greenfields alumina refinery as they are few and far between.

What career advice would you like to share? 

I worked with a very driven and capable co-worker who always said, “There are many ways to skin a cat”. She said it so often that I now find myself saying it to my kids! At times, you feel like you come up against a brick wall, but you just need to take a step back and re-assess the situation to work out a different way to look at the problem to allow things to keep moving forward.

Join respected industry experts like Caitlyn at AECOM

At AECOM, you can solve complex issues and help pioneer the future through creating more efficient buildings, faster transportation, improved security, healthier environments and more resilient cities.

If you’re interested in a career path that’s as dynamic as you are, apply for a job with AECOM.


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