Australian minerals industry recognises its female stars

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The Australian minerals industry has announced the finalists for the Rio Tinto Women in Resources National Awards, which celebrate and recognise exceptional women whose achievements inspire others in the resources sector.

Building the future minerals workforce means industry needs to boost its focus on increasing workforce diversity and inclusion, including gender diversity.

Encouraging women to pursue a career in mining is vital if we are to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths professionals which our innovative, high-skill industry will need to meet growing demand for Australia’s world-class resources.

Research and our industry’s own experience confirm diversity and inclusion increase productivity, innovation and performance – and has benefits for women and men.

With more than 33,400 women working in the sector in 2017, up from 8,900 in 2001, we’ve made good progress in recent years. Yet with only 16 per cent of Australia’s minerals workforce being women, it’s clear that there’s a big job ahead.

The Australian minerals industry is changing to attract a more diverse workforce with most employers offering part-time work options and flexible hours along with other initiatives, including:

  • At Rio Tinto, 18 per cent of the workforce are women and 41 per cent of its 2017 graduate intake were women
  • Downer EDI Mining is participating in a project connecting schools with industry organisations to increase female participation in science, technology, engineering, maths and trades careers
  • BHP achieved a 2.9 per cent increase in female representation in 2016-17, with women now accounting for 20 per cent of BHP’s overall workforce
  • St Barbara has been a Workforce Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice since 2014, with 100 per cent of women returning to work following parental leave between 2009 and 2016 (up from 50 per cent between 2007 and 2009).

2018 is the fifth year of the Women in Resources National Awards, a partnership between the MCA, Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, NSW Minerals Council, South Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council and Queensland Resources Council.

A full list of the finalists appears below. Contact details are available on request.



Award Category


Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance Award

ERA Ranger Women's Network


Energy Resources of Australia


Rio Tinto White Ribbon Accreditation


Rio Tinto


Inclusion & Diversity at Rio Tinto Weipa


Rio Tinto


Diversity – South32 policies in action




GHD - Diversity and Inclusion at GHD



The Newcrest Australian Parental Program



Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources

Nicole Brook



Katrina Bangay

Energy Resources Australia/Rio Tinto


Jo-anne Dudley

Rio Tinto


Donna McDermott

Hydro Tasmania


Vanessa Sullivan



Melanie McCarthy

Mandalay Resources


Peta Libby



Kalpana Maharage

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd 


Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources

Kristy Christensen



Helen Gill



Holstein Wong



Nima Sherpa



Caroline Dunning



Dhakshi Weerawardena



Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources

Deirdra McCracken/Tindale



Linda Murry

Rio Tinto


Rachel Durdin

Rio Tinto


John Graham



Sarah Jones



Veena Mendez

Chevron Australia


Outstanding Australian Trade, Operator or Technician

Hana Newbury



Katrina Bangay

Energy Resources Australia/Rio Tinto


Dannielle Weston

Hastings Deering


Tarrisha Simpson



Nicole O'Keefe



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