Arctic chills all in day's work for diamond driller

Toowoomba's Rhys Finch works in the Arctic as an exploration diamond driller.
Toowoomba's Rhys Finch works in the Arctic as an exploration diamond driller. Contributed

BRAVING minus 50 degree temperatures in nothing more than a tent is just a normal day at the office for former Toowoomba boy Rhys Finch.

A senior arctic exploration diamond driller based in Canada, Mr Finch has thrown away the luxury and convenience of Australia for something much more interesting.

After making the move from Toowoomba, Mr Finch started his first job on a drill in 2007 and he hasn't looked back.

"Going from the Australian summer to the Canadian winter was definitely a shock to the system," Mr Finch said.

"The temperature difference can be as much as 100 degrees between Australia and the Arctic on any given day..

"We camp in canvas tents however our clothing is insulated and there are heaters everywhere so we manage to stay warm."

Rhys Finch's office.
Rhys Finch's office. Contributed

While the conditions may not be ideal it is the once in a life time experiences which inspire Mr Finch.

"Everything hard about the job is quickly forgotten with all the amazing things we see," he said.

"I have worked under the northern lights, watched 22,000 caribou migrate through our work site, seen bears, Arctic wolves, Arctic foxes, white outs, blizzards, travelled on snow mobiles to work, flown in helicopters and gone to some of the most remote places in Canada.

"Just countless experiences I would have never done if I hadn't made the decision to come here."

Working six weeks on and two weeks off, Mr Finch said it isn't for the faint of heart.

"You have to be ready for anything," he said.

"The weather changes so fast and you can fly in some of the smallest aircraft landing on whatever the pilot feels is safe.

"It can be hard to be away from family and friends but you get paid to see the world and meet new people.

"It is a great experience and one I will remember long into my senior years."


The lowest temperature recorded in the Arctic is -68C (-90.4F)

If all the ice in the Arctic melted, the global sea level would rise about 24 feet.

Grey whales migrate 12,500 miles from the Arctic to Mexico and back every year.

The North Pole and most of the Arctic have only six months of sunlight each year.

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