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Qld celebrates rich Seam of female Talent in Mining Awards

Gold Coast-based engineer and FIFO worker Lydia Gentle was today announced as the 2022 Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources at an event for 1000 people at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre in Brisbane.

Lydia heads a team of 600 people at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Peak Downs metallurgical coal mine near Moranbah in Central Queensland. With a mining career spanning 17 years, in 2019 Lydia received an Order of Australia for her services to engineering. She is also the youngest Australian to achieve engineering executive status with Engineers Australia and is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

This year's Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources is Townsville-based engineer, Jillian Coppo. Jillian is an Engineering and Projects Superintendent at South32’s Cannington Mine, a silver, lead and zinc mine located 200km south-east of Mt Isa. She manages a team of 30 staff to deliver a large, annual capital and major operational works program.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said Lydia and Jillian are both outstanding examples of the world-class workforce behind the state’s resources sector, which contributed $84.3 billion to the state economy in 2020-21.

Mr Macfarlane said the door is wide open for more women to follow a trade or professional pathway into Queensland’s minerals and energy sector, which now has 7000 female employees. He said the QRC’s latest diversity and inclusion report shows 20 percent of the industry’s workforce is now female, with nine out of 10 women working in non-traditional roles such as engineering, trade and executive management positions.

“Automation and other emerging technologies are levelling the playing field for many traditionally male-dominated mining jobs, giving women better access to the outstanding financial and career development benefits our sector has to offer,” Mr Macfarlane said. "Our female workforce has grown by 53 percent over the past six years, and we expect these numbers to continue to increase across our coal, metal and gas workforces as well as in our emerging critical minerals and renewable energy sectors. Our industry target is 30 percent female participation by 2026, so we've got our work cut out for us, but the women already working in resources have demonstrated beyond a doubt how valuable they are to our industry’s bottom line. A more diverse workplace has been shown to increase productivity, improve workplace safety and contribute to a more positive and inclusive work culture,” he said. “The good news for all Queenslanders is that our sector is looking to recruit more skilled men and women, as we’re experiencing a Covid-related critical shortage of people with suitable qualifications to fill a range of trade, technical roles and professional roles.”

Queensland’s Exceptional Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician for 2022 is Mt Isa-based Tanya Cambetis. A Development Execution Specialist for Glencore Queensland Metals, Tanya works at the George Fisher Mine in the state’s north-west which is one of the world’s largest zinc, lead and silver mines. She is the driving force behind Mt Isa’s Women in Mining and Resources Qld (WIMARQ) chapter and is a mentor for Glencore’s Girls for Mining Program.

Kirra Harris is this year’s Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources - Technological Innovation award winner. From her Brisbane base, Kirra manages Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal Analytics Centre and a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists and mining specialists. Kirra is a passionate advocate for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and established Australia’s first chapter of the Caterpillar Women’s Initiative Network.

Queensland’s Inclusion and Diversity Champion award winner is Work Management Superintendent Kristy Purdon. Kristy works for Anglo American’s Capcoal open cut metallurgical coal mine near Dysart in Central Queensland. She has worked in continuous improvement roles across all mining disciplines including open cut, underground and asset portfolio management. Kristy also heads up the Bowen Basin WIMARQ chapter.

The 2022 Exceptional Female - Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Student is Jemma Donovan, a Year 12 student and College Captain of Brisbane’s San Sisto College. Jemma has been a University of Queensland science ambassador, mentor for junior science students and attended QMEA workshops and a camp last year. Jemma is aiming to study Chemical, Process or Environmental Engineering after graduation.

This year’s winner of the state award for Excellence in Company Diversity and Inclusion Programs and Performance is one of the largest Caterpillar dealer networks in the world, Hastings Deering. The company has successfully implemented a diversity encouragement program in Queensland to increase female apprenticeship and graduate application rates, as well as intake numbers and retention. Since 2018, Hastings Deering's intake rates of female apprentices has risen from 5 to 21 percent.

Mr Macfarlane said Queensland is well positioned to play a prominent global role in producing the in-demand materials and minerals needed to manufacture emerging green technologies, products and infrastructure.

“The future for Queensland’s highly diverse and adaptable resources sector is very bright,” he said. “The incredible resilience our industry has demonstrated throughout Covid - which has kept the state economy and job market strong – will continue to be our best asset, as resources companies move to lower emissions, use more renewable energy and reduce their environmental impact,” he said.

Source: QRC

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