Women in mining - BMA female dragline operator tells all

Women in mining – persistence pays off

Women are operating some of the biggest mining machinery. . . and loving it

A large percentage of women making an impact in mining is evident right across Australia. From the coal fields of Queensland to the dry desert landscapes of the W.A. iron ore mines in the Pilbara – opportunities are everywhere for women to get the personal slice of the mining action.

Women are turning to the industry because it offers flexible working conditions, career opportunities and a chance to work in a diverse industry. Gender equality is something mining companies in Australia strive to create.

Having a good employee life/work balance in has many benefits for mine site owners and employers.

Women at mine site open cur

Many women are enjoying rewarding careers in mining

As the mining industry in Australia shifts gear again into a an era of high productivity and efficiency, there has never been a better time for women to enter the mining and resource sector.

There are many pathways into the mining sector for women, and it’s not limited to the traditional outdated male view of housekeeping and food preparation. Many women are enjoying rewarding careers as WHS representatives, trainers, heavy machinery operators as well as engineers, geologists, mine managers and high-level executives.

It’s not uncommon, however for women to enter the mining industry at an entry-level position. In fact, iMINCO have written a special guide to help new starters understand the industry and get some idea of where to begin searching for jobs, how to apply and what to expect from a mining career.

Once firmly established in a mining job, women can quickly progress to other roles such as a haul truck operator.

A well-paid career as a haul truck driver

You might be surprised to learn one of the women’s success stories of the mining industry has been that of Lisa Mirtsopoulos who has created a well-paid career as a haul truck operator.

Not content with just driving massive haul trucks on a mine site, Lisa told iMINCO she is now doing consulting work with the mining company she works for in Western Australia, to help them improve the efficiency of their haul truck operations. How cool is that?

Leading on from Lisa’s success, and there are many more like her, is a new story iMINCO discovered about a very talented woman who got a job operating one of the biggest pieces of mining equipment you will find on a mine site.

mining jobs women - first female dragline operator

The first female Dragline Trainee

Meet Marianne Finch . . .

Marianne started her mining career way back in 2005 as, wait for it, a haul truck operator working for BMA at their Peak Downs mine in Queensland’s coal mining hotspot, the Bowen Basin.

Having been in the mining industry for almost 10 years, Marianne knows a thing or two about mining.

The first nugget of wisdom she relays is:“Don’t take no for an answer”

Marianne had the guts and determination to succeed, no matter what challenges she faced in a male-dominated mining industry. Before too long, being the persistent type, she was given the chance to learn how to operate a dozer, which as we all know is more of a man’s mining toy.

Once she had mastered operating the dozer, Marianne moved on to another piece of vital mining machinery, the digger. Always on the look out for a career opportunity, she made a move to the BMA operated Saraji Mine in 2012 where the opportunity to commence a Dragline Traineeship presented itself.

Marianne says she may just have her ‘L’s’ on at the moment, but being at the controls of Dragline 13 feels great.

Not content with this, she also holds the prestigious title of being the first female Dragline Trainee at the mine. She went on to say, being a Dragline Operator was simply the best job on the mine site.

“The role is challenging and pushes you out of your comfort zone every day,” she said.

“When accepting this opportunity I did question whether I had done the right thing. However through the support of my team and friendships on site, I was able to push through those thoughts and I`m now confident I’ve made the right decision, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge every day since,” she said.

Marianne said she believes the key to succeeding in both the role, and the mining industry, is through developing trust within your crew and working hard.

Having the right attitude to build a strong career for herself was duly noted by Marianne’s Crew Supervisor, Rob Jacobsen.

>He went on to say, “She [Marianne] is a keen learner and not afraid to try anything new”.

Marianne’s Dragline Trainer and Assessor, Lyndon Bayles, also thought Rob’s words were spot on.

“With more practical training, it won’t be long until we pass Marianne out as a “smooth operator” here at the Saraji mine ” a title every Dragline Operator strives to achieve,” he said.

females in mining

Advice to women looking for a career in mining

Marianne has some wise words of advice for women who are thinking of working in the mining industry in Australia.

She said, “Continue to push the norm and don’t take second prize, but above all, be sure you want the role, be sure you will stick at it . . . and when given the opportunity…don’t quit”.

“Persist at it and prove to those higher than you, why you not only deserve that role, but also any future opportunities that may come along”, she said.

“strength and courage”

Wise words indeed from Marianne whose tenacity, strength and courage is testament to the fact anything is possible when you put your mind to it and stick to it. Don’t let others put you off achieving what you desire and you know you have the ability to accomplish.