Underground: Tales from Arnot Opco’s miners – Warren Havemann

Warren Havemann

Since taking over control of the Arnot coal mine in February 2020, a small group of employees at Arnot Opco are working tirelessly behind the scenes to get the mine ready for operations. One of the team members eager to see the coal-producing mine get back into the business is Warren Havemann, who works as an electrician. Here are some facts about Warren:

Mining found me

Mining runs in the veins of the Havemann family. Warren’s father worked at the very same mine, Arnot, many years ago. Blissfully unaware that mining would come calling, Warren studied hotel management at college. After completing his studies, he became a barman at a hotel in the Drakensberg called Little Switzerland, and that is where he met his wife. The responsibilities that came with being a family man dictated that Warren’s life needed to change quickly. After a few deep and meaningful conversations with his father, the 27-year-old barman had to decide between coming home in the ungodly hour or getting a job that would allow him to work predictable hours to raise a family. That’s how mining found Warren.       

There are no typical days in mining

Warren has worked in the mining industry for 12 years. When asked about what a typical day looks like for an electrician at the mine, he responds, “every day is different”. His day starts with a meeting with the foreman at mine. He then checks priority areas which consist of making sure that there is power underground, power at the pumps, and general housekeeping at the substation. However, Warren’s duties extend beyond his scope of being an electrician. He’s part of a small team of operators performing care and maintenance at the mine, helping to reestablish the Arnot colliery. That means that whatever needs fixing, he attends to it accordingly.

Hopes for the future

Warren was part of the workforce when the Arnot mine was shut down in 2018. He says the experience of losing a job is inexplicable, “every six months you have to go for a job interview”. But the joy of getting his job back was a bittersweet moment because colleagues he was retrenched with did not make the cut, “that was a punch in the stomach”, Warren says. Looking into the future, Warren says he just wants to see the mine start pumping again. Having helped close the mine initially, he’s uniquely aware of the challenges that lie ahead, “It’s a push. The amount of work that needs to be done is massive”. At a personal level, Warren’s dream for Arnot Opco is to see it succeed beyond measure. “I can almost say this has become like a family business. My dad used to work here many years ago, and I’ve carried on. It would be a shame to see it go.”   

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