Day in my life 1,300 meters below surface

Enkhbold Amgalan is one of many contractors working for the underground development of Oyu Tolgoi. He joined MCS Property project team, who is completing the Underground Critical Facilities Development of Oyu Tolgoi since July, 2016. As a scaffolder, he is responsible for erecting secure and stable structures for the underground development, to ensure the safety of his friends and colleagues, their promise to meet their families safe and sound.

We had an opportunity to sit down with Enkhbold and discuss about his daily working routine 1,300 meters below surface at Oyu Tolgoi.
How do you start your morning?
I wake up at 05:30, get myself ready and head out to mess hall. We eat packaged meals for lunch underground so after breakfast, I wait in line for my packaged meal and take bus to Shaft 1, which is our main passage to go underground. I usually arrive at 06:30 because I need to change into my personal protective clothes and equipment before pre-start meeting.
What kind of preparations do you need before going underground?

All pre-start meetings at Oyu Tolgoi mine site begin at 07:00. During the meeting, we share safety messages on potential risks that were observed underground and talk about what else is happening at Oyu Tolgoi mine site. Night shift employees give us update on the progress of yesterday’s work and we share our plan for today. After we finish the meeting, we are usually underground by 08:30.

Before we get to work, our scaffolding team gets instructions for our work plan for the day. After that, I get the required documents, work permits and finally get to work.
What do you focus on during the second half of the day?
Considering the capacity of the kitchen and the number of microwaves, underground employees take turns using the kitchen. As for our scaffolding team, we eat lunch from 12:00 to 13:00 and head back to work.

During the second half of the day, we continue erecting the scaffold until we get off work. Starting from 18:00, we go up by the cage so we usually finish everything and get ready to handover to the night shift. We proceed to tidy up the workplace to ensure the scaffold is stable and return the equipment. Just like that, I safely finished my work today.

How do you spend your leisure time at Oyu Tolgoi mine site?
At Oyu Tolgoi mine site, we have cinema, recreation center, gym and bar for our leisure time. After dinner, I usually do whatever I feel like doing on that day. Usually, I would head to the cinema, but sometimes I go to the gym to exercise. Sometimes I go to the bar with my colleagues. OT cinema screens three Mongolian movies every month and since I’m a movie junkie, I try to watch them all.
If you have any advice for students interested in scaffolding for Underground project, what would it be?
Whatever field you’re majoring in, have passion for it and aspire to accomplish your goals. In future, you will have many opportunities to be part of mega projects like Oyu Tolgoi. Communication will be key to understanding and engaging with international workforce so foreign language skill is very important for your growth. Therefore, I advise you to focus on your language skills, aside from your technical studies.

Just like that, Enkhbold’s day working 1,300 meters below surface has come to an end. At the end of the interview, he was reminiscing about his rookie days at Oyu Tolgoi mine site, mentioning many new experiences. He also expressed his gratitude to MCS Property project team and Oyu Tolgoi for supporting him throughout all of his challenges and opportunities to become who he is today.