Local high school students were granted an inside look at a career in mining in December, taking part in work experience at the Independence Group's Nova mine site.
Six Year 10 students from Esperance Senior High School and two from Esperance Anglican Community School were selected to take part in the hands on four-day program.
Students lived and worked as miners, completing 12-hour shifts under the guidance of mentors from fields such as surveying, metallurgy and engineering.
The students' hard work culminated in a presentation to their peers, families and community at the Esperance Bay Yacht Club on December 12.
Esperance Senior High School student Holly Bishop studied metallurgy and said she was fascinated by the processing of metals.
"The most valuable part was learning about all the different aspects that go into the mine and how they all contribute together," she said.
"Our mentor taught us everything about the whole process plant and how everything works."
Student Zaine Smith said learning from his engineering mentor opened his eyes to the possibility of a career in the field.
"My dad is a miner but I didn't really consider it was much as I do now, I just didn't realise the amount of opportunities" he said.
"There were a lot of stories from all the people that we met who started from the bottom and have taken all the opportunities they were given and worked their way up."
Esperance Senior High School science teacher Hettie Maree said the on-site experience helped students to plan their study pathway for Years 11 and 12.
"Some of the students had a preset idea about what a mine worker looks like, but now they are definitely going to pursue the options of having a career in that pathway," she said.
"We are so grateful for IGO for opening up these opportunities for our students and hopefully we can continue to make this a better and more valuable experience."
Independence Group company secretary and head of corporate affairs Joanne McDonald said the work experience showed students the diversity of mining.
"Mining is not just about going underground, there are so many opportunities from geology and environment, to nurses and catering staff," she said.
"I think it opens their eyes to that and it shows them that the metals we are mining are critical for the future.
"This is something we definitely want to continue on an annual basis so we can reach out to many students and the younger generation to encourage them into the mining industry.
"As a company, we are very passionate about doing more to promote the benefits of mining in today's modern world and the fact that it is a fantastic career option for our future generations."