“…You are chosen for the installation at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia…” said my installation manager, “OK” I said. But I had no clue where I was heading.
My trip began with a 2-day stop-over in Hong Kong for my visa, followed by stops in Beijing and Ulaanbaatar (the capital city of Mongolia). I then flew to the Gobi desert where the massive copper-gold mine is located. Upon my arrival, I made a stunning discovery; employees here work 28 consecutive days before going on a 14 days break. I wouldn’t have my weekends!
While Mongolians are very tolerant people, a few local customs should be noted. For example, it is impolite to show the bottoms of your feet while sitting close to another person. If you step or touch on someone’s foot, offer them a quick handshake to avoid a fight. Hats should always be placed with the open-end down and a man’s hat should never be placed on the floor.
Ian Bell, my colleague from Vancouver, Canada joined me a few days later. He brought the rain along with him to the Gobi desert which is certainly a rare occurrence here. We started the installation of ToothMetrics™ and RadarMetrics™ systems with a great team, although most of them couldn’t speak English. Somehow we understood each other and got the job done safely and on time. The project was a great success.
The camp is well kept with decent food. During leisure time, the mine provided all kinds of sports for the crew. Ian played in the maintenance soccer team that made to the semi-finals finishing in 4th place. The site also has a well-equipped gym where we spent a lot of our time. We borrowed bikes and did off-road riding one afternoon after work.
I was very lucky to be in Mongolia at that time because I took part in two very important events. One was the biggest milestone for the mine: the very first shipment of copper to China.
The other was the National day known as NAADAM. I got to see a few performances at the Sukhbaatar square in Ulaanbaatar on July 11. There were lots of activities going on and lots of Mongolian food to try!
It was an exciting 4-week stay of at the Gobi Desert with very friendly and sociable people. This was truly a once in a life-time experience that I will treasure!
Written by Bobby Sebeo, Motion Metrics Installation Specialist