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HomeMediaMedia releasesMedia Releases 2013Female coal mine pioneer wins top resources sector award - Queensland Resources Council

Female coal mine pioneer wins top resources sector award

8 March 2013

The first female open-cut examiner and shift boss at NSW’s largest open-cut coal mine and now Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s NSW regional manager for resource development has won this year's Queensland Resources Council's Resources Awards for Women.

Brisbane-based Heather Bell's career spans 11years across a range of sites in Queensland and New South Wales in technical, corporate and managerial roles. She is currently Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s NSW regional manager for resource development.

At just 33, she is the youngest manager and only female in her team to work across two states.

The award recognises exceptional achievement by a woman working in the Queensland resources sector not only in their own career, but also in the advancement of women in the sector.

'I believe that to continue changing attitudes towards women in the workforce it is important to focus on educating the men in our industry and this involves building strong, trusting and respectful relationships with men in everyday work,' said Heather.

'It’s also about being active and visible in the workplace and accepting opportunities that raise the profile of women.'

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche says the awards, which lift the profile of women in the minerals and energy sector and provide a cohort of female industry ambassadors, are part of the QRC's plan to increase the proportion of women in 'non-traditional' roles in the resources sector to 20 percent by 2020.

'I congratulate Heather on her significant achievements and particularly attaining an open-cut examiner role. This is an important statutory position in an open-cut mine, responsible for the safety and health of operational employees during mining activities' said Mr Roche.

'The good news is that the most recent survey of QRC members shows that we are on track to reach our target.

'Our 2011-12 survey shows that women make up just under 12 percent of 'non-traditional' roles, such as engineers, geologists, trades and senior management, up from 11 percent the previous year.

'The proportion of women across all occupations is 14 percent, up from 13 percent in 2010-11.

'It's particularly pleasing to see a one percent increase in female senior managers to 14 percent, and Heather is a fine example of why women are climbing up the ranks of our companies.

'And, women in trades increased from two to three percent, though obviously there is still a long way to go in this area also.

While our statistics continue to trend upwards, we know that we need to keep a sharp focus on measures to ensure that the resources sector is attractive to women, and provides a working environment that encourages them to stay.'

The awards were presented today by the Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Lisa France, QRC President Stephen Dumble and Chair of Women in Mining and Resources Queensland Jules Blunt.

The QRC also released its latest statics on gender diversity in the sector.

Click the link below for the publication.

Full list of winners:

Winner: Heather Bell Rio Tinto Coal Australia (Brisbane)
Runner up: Andrea Rutley Anglo American (Brisbane)

Rising Star
Winner: Lucya Yunus Xstrata Copper (Mount Isa)
Runner Up: Kate Brand (Brisbane)

Winner: Tamara Bellinger Xstrata Copper (Mount Isa)
Highly Commended: Karla Draper Thiess (Inglewood); Nikita Mason BMA (Moranbah); Sandii Rixon BHP Billiton (Poitrel Mine/Brisbane – FIFO)

Winner: Myf Szepanowski Anglo American Callide Mine (Boundary Hill)
Runner up: Elisha Wesser BMA (Mount Julian)

Gender Diversity Champion
Joint Winners: Rebecca Capper Anglo American (Brisbane); Tash Fee TNT Training Solutions (Calliope)

Best Company Initiative
Winner: Xstrata Mount Isa Mines
Highly Commended: Parsons Brinkerhoff

Further information and photos: Caroline Morrissey 0417 770 893

Winning Women - Leading Practice Principles for the Attraction and Retention of Women in the Minerals and Energy Sector. Seventh edition March 2013

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