For women entering the mining industry, it can be a challenging place to work.
Mining operations in remote locations, demanding shifts, physical work and time away from home making job choices even more difficult.
Mining jobs for women are still advertised on the Australian mining jobs boards, with many roles starting at the entry-level point.
Some of the entry-level mining jobs for women are appealing as they offer a unique opportunity to work for large, global organisations and get a taste for the mining life.
Mining is a fantastic place for women to start a new career,
Mining opens up a world of possibilities for career advancement for women; and of course the opportunity to earn a $100k plus salary.
“a natural ability”
Many women who enter the mining industry seem to have a natural ability to move into more physical roles and take on more responsibility with ease.
It’s not uncommon to start out in a cleaning or hospitality role and end up driving a 90 tonne haul truck or even becoming a Work, Health and Safety executive – or even an award-winning Mine Manager.
Transitioning into these types of jobs can of course take a few years. With the right opportunities, it’s not too difficult to move into a higher paying mining job, as you will see in the following study of Julie Shuttleworth, who is a mine site manager for one of Australia’s largest iron ore mining companies.
“a new breed of miner”
Julie has an amazing job and an exciting career as General Manager of Fortescue Metal’s Group Cloudbreak mine, in the WA Pilbara. This high volume and fast paced mining operation has grown from a small operation to one where the latest technologies and mining automation ingenuity have created a new breed of miners.
Having previously worked as General Manager for another WA mining company Barrick Gold, Julie was poached by FMG to head up operations at the Cloudbreak mine, which is situated in FMG’s Chichester Hub.
The Chichester Hub is located in the Chichester Ranges in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, about 263km south of Port Hedland and 150km north of Newman.
“women can build a solid career in mining”
Julie’s successful career in the mining industry serves are a strong reminder to all women who are looking to the mining industry to build a solid career.
As far back as 2011, Julie won the prestigious award of Mine Manager of the Year whilst she was at Barrick Gold’s Granny Smith Mine.
“sheer guts and determination”
Julie was recently featured in the February edition of the Mining Monthly where she gives reader an insight into her weekly work schedule. Women who are considering working in the mining industry should take Julie’s success story as a strong indication of what can be achieved through hard work, skill and sheer guts and determination.
Although Julie works a hectic FIFO lifestyle, her job takes her all over the world, the rewards are great and the opportunities are endless.
A week in the life of a FIFO mine site manager – Julie Shuttleworth
Just like every other FIFO worker, Julie has a long trip to work. Her working week starts at 3.50am, where her sleep is broken and it’s off to Perth to catch the 5.55am flight to the mine. By 7.45am Julie is on the ground again and has arranged her accommodation and lunch - then its a drive to the mine site for a 8.30am start.
“great way to start the working week”
Take a second to think about that! In a little over 4 and a half hours, Julie is out of bed, has flown to a remote location in WA, sorted out her accommodation, driven to the mine site and is ready to do business at 8.30am. What a great way to start the working week.
From here on in, Julie’s week starts to kick in and as you can read below, she has a hectic schedule as she works her way across the mine site as well as visiting other sites.
“solving issues and challenges on a daily basis”
Julie’s job as General Manager means she is responsible for total operations at the Cloudbreak mine. This is a lot of responsibility and involves a great deal of time working with and listening to the people who work on the mine – solving issues and challenges to ensure the mine is always working at a safe and productive level.
Women in Mining – Julie’s schedule which is often a 5am start and a 15 hour day
- Meetings with other operational managers
- Conference calls to head office in Perth
- Attending daily site safety and production meetings
- Visits to the maintenance fitting and planning workshops to keep up to date with what technical and mechanical issues are being resolved
- Attending supervisor leadership courses on-site
- Meet with drill and blast management
- Attend pre-start meetings with operational and speak with the crews
- Travel in haul trucks and speak to the operators about safety and general well-being
- Meet with finance superintendents and review monthly results and operational costs
- Review safety action plans with the safety manager
- Meet with the maintenance manager at the train load-out area
- More conference calls with head office in Perth
- Tour the on-site ore-processing facility to make certain everything is running smoothly
- Review and approve purchasing requisitions
- Create monthly reports
- Drive out to the mine run of mill pads and iron ore stockpile area, talking with operators
- Tour the haulage contractor workshops and attend meetings with the contracts manager
As you can see, Julie’s role is one where she has a lot of responsibility as General Manager. These types of management jobs require massive amounts of skill, energy and above all an attitude of absolute commitment to safety and creating a quality work environment for all employees.
There has been a push for mining companies to have more women in mining roles. Career opportunities are everywhere and women should not be put off from attaining the right qualifications to give themselves every opportunity to earn a fantastic living in the mining sector in Australia.
Read about how “sisters are doing it for themselves” in mining
Resources to learn more about how women in mining can create rewarding careers in the mining industry. Click the links below to download two essential free e-books to discover how women in the mining industry are a force to be reckoned with.