At the 2024 Queensland Resources Awards for Women event, three engineers, a dragline operator and a workplace support manager were among the winners who took home esteemed awards.

The event was hosted on International Women’s Day by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) to celebrate the contribution of women to the industry.

The mining and energy sector, which contributed $116.8 billion to the Queensland economy last financial year and provides more than 530,000 jobs, contributes 80 per cent of Queensland’s total export earnings.

The event at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre welcomed 1,200 guests and featured a line-up of high-achieving women led by global business leader and keynote speaker BHP President Australia, Geraldine Slattery, and new QRC Chief Executive Officer, Janette Hewson.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles also attended and presented the 2024 Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources award to Head of BHP’s Global Resource Engineering Excellence, Sonia Winter. 

Ms Winter’s career in resources began 20 years ago when she was one of the first women employed through BHP’s graduate mining engineer program. She spent many years working in Central Queensland as a mining engineer, including as General Manager of Poitrel coal mine, and is now based in Brisbane where she leads an expert team focussed on global mine planning and closures.

Tanya Olive from Bluff in Central Queensland is the 2024 Exceptional Tradeswoman/ Operator/Technician in Queensland Resources. 

After starting in the sector 16 years ago in an administrative role, Ms Olive has embraced every opportunity to develop her skills and is now a dragline operator for the privately owned and operated coal company Jellinbah Group. She also recently passed her Open Cut Examiner written exam.

Ms Hewson said the number of women working in Queensland’s resources sector had almost doubled over the past 20 years to reach a record 22.1 per cent (8,552 FTE) of the industry’s total workforce.

“The resources sector is making good progress towards reaching our target of 30 per cent female participation by 2026, but our members are working hard to employ more women at a faster rate to meet this milestone.

“26.1 per cent of Executive Management positions in Queensland’s resources sector are now held by women, which is almost double the level of representation in 2015-16, with the proportion of women working in operational and production roles growing by 58 per cent over the same period.

“Significantly, the number of women in trade roles has increased by almost 40 per cent over the past year, in a clear sign our industry is becoming more diverse and inclusive in its attraction, recruitment and retention programs,” Ms Hewson said.

WIMARQ co-chair, Sally Rayner, said Queensland was leading the way nationally in the number of younger women working in the industry, with 38 per cent aged 34 years or younger compared to the national figure of 28.4 per cent for the same age group.

“More than 8,550 women are currently benefiting from the well-paid jobs and career opportunities offered by mining and energy companies in Queensland, and we want that number to continue to grow. 

“Events like today are a great opportunity to share with our community that our sector highly values women and the different perspectives, skills and attributes they bring to our mine sites, gas fields, boardrooms, corporate offices and processing plants.”

Ms Slattery said 36 per cent of BHP’s employees globally are women, a figure that has doubled since 2016.

“Of course, achievements like this are no coincidence.

“It takes disruptive policies and sustained investment. Investing in entry and career pathways, investing in training and development, in culture and ways of working.

“Diverse teams are safer and more productive, providing opportunity for better livelihoods and better business.”

The Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources in Technological Innovation award was won by Brisbane-based data engineer Clarie Graham, who works for rail freight operator Aurizon. 

Ms Graham received the award for her outstanding work leading the implementation of a new program that uses sensor data from the company’s locomotive fleet to monitor conditions, predict faults and schedule proactive maintenance.

The 2024 Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources, Ashara Moore, is a FIFO engineer who lives on the Gold Coast and works at BHP’s Saraji coal mine in Dysart, Central Queensland. 

After starting her career as the sole engineer on construction projects in remote areas, Ms Moore is now a portfolio lead where she heads a team of engineers and is responsible for over $45 million in capital projects.

Highly regarded workplace Support Manager at Anglo American, Kanae Dyas, is the 2024 Inclusion and Diversity Champion in Queensland Resources. 

Ms Dyas has championed diversity and equity reform throughout her career and is dedicated to improving health and safety outcomes for women and marginalised people. She is also involved in a range of industry working groups that deal with psychosocial management, bullying, harassment, discrimination and domestic violence.

Anglo American has won the 2024 award for Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance in Queensland Resources. The company introduced a global initiative in 2020 that has increased the number of women in senior management positions, including at its five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland.

The program encouraged more women to apply for leadership roles and resulted in a doubling of the number of women in senior positions in just 18 months, exceeding its 25 per cent target ahead of schedule.

Moranbah State High School Year 12 student and school captain, Lexi Croce, is the 2024 Exceptional Female QMEA Student. 

The QMEA is the education arm of the QRC which delivers STEM and trade workshops and camps to students at 100 Queensland schools. Ms Croce has been actively involved with QMEA programs and is a member of her school’s STEM Innovation Experience Team which won last year’s state competition. She is driven by the idea of finding electrical solutions to make mining operations more efficient and environmentally friendly.

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