Daniel Hill - This is my story

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Daniel Hill grew up in Darwin, and at school demonstrated a natural ability for mathematics and chemistry. When asked by his chemistry teacher what he wanted to do when he left school he had no idea, "I think I wanted to be a fighter pilot."

He's destined to be a Top Gun in Australian mining, and is already making million dollar decisions every day.

Daniel works for Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), and is their first indigenous chemical engineering graduate under Rio Tinto's graduate placement program. In fact, he's graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Melbourne.

Daniel joined ERA as a production metallurgist - his role is to assess and extract valuable product from mined resources.

This flair for chemistry made his chosen career a natural choice, but Daniel says that another reason for his interest in metallurgy was the opportunity to help protect the neighbouring Kakadu National Park's waterways.

Daniel is involved in a project which aims to reduce the amount of process water produced in the laterite plant, which is part of the production process.

And this sense of responsibility extends to his immediate community, through the Clontarf Foundation. This highly successful program encourages indigenous kids to attend school in exchange for football club membership, training, mentoring and more.

In fact, Daniel has always demonstrated a talent for Australian Rules Football, and plays at a semi-professional level for St Mary's. "I couldn't believe how big the MCG was" says Daniel with a raised eyebrow.

Now these skills have returned to the Top End, where he spends time with the kids as a role model to show them there are other pathways if you are not successful in footy

"Daniel is definitely a mentor to young indigenous people" says Penny, his proud Mum.

He also travels to schools to share his story. The main message for his people is that you can achieve anything if you apply yourself.

Daniel Hill is the case in point, "His potential is to be a leader in this industry" says Shane Reeves, Plant Operations Manager at ERA.

But Daniel Hill doesn't want his achievements to be glorified because of his indigenous background. He wants people to think, as he says, "you only get ahead through hard work and dedication."

Daniel sits and looks out on the beautiful shores of Northern Territory's Bulgul region and says "There's a feeling of belonging when you're out here."

Ironically, his dream is to work overseas. Penny believes that, "He'll probably end up working overseas as a CEO, but he has a strong connection to this land here and he'll always come back."

"If they let me go, they'll know I'll come back sooner or later" confirms Daniel. Australia hopes so, but wherever the world takes him in the meantime, we'll proudly claim Daniel Hill as one of our own.