• Media Release

Australian minerals industry recognises its female stars

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 Finalists
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 South32
GHD – Diversity and Inclusion at GHD GHD
The Newcrest Australian Parental Program Newcrest
Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources Nicole Brook Glencore
Katrina Bangay Energy Resources Australia/Rio Tinto
Jo-anne Dudley Rio Tinto
Donna McDermott Hydro Tasmania
Vanessa Sullivan Tasrail
Melanie McCarthy Mandalay Resources
Peta Libby Digirock
Kalpana Maharage Fortescue Metals Group Ltd
Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Kristy Christensen South32
Helen Gill South32
Holstein Wong BHP
Nima Sherpa BHP
Caroline Dunning MMG
Dhakshi Weerawardena BHP
Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources Deirdra McCracken/Tindale BHP/WiMNet NSW
Linda Murry Rio Tinto
Rachel Durdin Rio Tinto
John Graham South32
Sarah Jones Orica
Veena Mendez Chevron Australia
Outstanding Australian Trade, Operator or Technician Hana Newbury Peabody
Katrina Bangay Energy Resources Australia/Rio Tinto
Dannielle Weston Hastings Deering
Tarrisha Simpson South32
Nicole O’Keefe BHP