Aspiring engineer wins Qld women in resources award

Photo: International Women’s Day_QMEA Winner Tara Toshack


Aspiring environmental engineer and Dysart SHS student Tara Toshack has won the student award in the 11th annual Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) awards presented in Brisbane today. (8Mar16)

The 2016 Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Student Ambassador was flown to Brisbane to collect her award by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.

‘I chose this nominated career path as I enjoy learning how science and its theory can be applied to real life situations, and then implementing this knowledge myself,’ said Ms Toshack.

‘I also have a great interest in the effect that different factors have on the environment, and the ways in which we can minimise and rehabilitate these impacts.’

Tara, who is also a member of Young Scientists of Australia, has written many published pieces on the importance of mentoring and supporting girls in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, which can lead to careers in the resources sector.

BMA Asset President Rag Udd said the organisation was proud to support the youth of Central Queensland in their growth and development towards careers in engineering and resources.

‘As one of Central Queensland’s largest employers, we are particularly proud to see a student from our region of operations excelling and seeking to apply her talents in a STEM profession,’ Mr Udd said.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the awards and breakfast, this year sponsored by Rio Tinto, celebrated and showcased the depth of female talent in Queensland’s resources sector.

‘The awards also provide industry ambassadors and mentors, particularly for women and students thinking about entering the resources field,’ Mr Roche said.

‘The long-term future of our sector relies on attracting and retaining the best people to keep us at the forefront of innovation as we compete in a global market.

‘A workforce with people from diverse backgrounds, including a better gender balance, is critical to supplying the workforce of the future.

‘The attendance of about 800 people across the state today at breakfasts to witness the presentation of these awards is a clear demonstration of our sector’s continued commitment to its goal of at least 20 percent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.’

The awards were presented by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Grace Grace, QRC President Stewart Butel and WIMARQ Chair Heather Parry.

* The QMEA is Australia’s largest and most successful industry/education schools partnership between the Queensland resources sector represented by the QRC and the Queensland Government.

Through its school-industry partnerships, the QMEA’s 35 schools around the state offer programs and experiences to broaden students’ and teachers’ knowledge of the sector and provide pathways for young people into resource sector related careers.

The full list of results:

Exceptional Woman in Qld

Winner: Cecile Wake, Growth Director QGC

Exceptional Young Woman in Qld Resources

Winner: Dannielle Dendle, Engineering Project Coordinator and Project Controls, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Peak Downs Mine

Outstanding Queensland Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician 

Winner: Marianne Finch Dragline/dozer operator BHP Billiton Mitubishi Alliance Saraji Mine

Gender Diversity Champion in Queensland Resources

Winner: Chai McConnnell Principal Consultant Advisian Pty Ltd (part of Worley Parsons Group)

Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance
Winner: Aurizon

Exceptional QMEA Student in Queensland Resources
Winner: Tara Toshack Dysart SHS

Women appointed to mine safety board in Queensland first

(Left to Right): David Mackay (Underground Mining Manager, Ravenswood Operations); Phil Goode (Chief Inspector of Mines, DNRM. Chair of the Board); Darren Nicholls (Director of Operations, Queensland Underground, Glencore Coal Assets Australia);  Julie Devine (Senior Inspector of Mines, DNRM); Brad Watson (Underground Operations Manager (Grosvenor) Anglo-American); Bryony Andrew (Production Manager, Poitrel Mine BMC (BHP - Billiton/Mitsui-Coal); Professor Brian White (Professor of Mining Engineering, University of Queensland); Russell Albury (Chief Inspector of Coal Mines, DNRM); Greg Dalliston (Industry Safety and Health Representative, CFMEU); Mike Downs (Consultant – Underground Mine Manager).

Two mining engineers have been appointed to the mining industry’s Board of Examiners.

And for the first time in Queensland, they are women.

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said International Women’s Day was a good time to highlight the credentials of Julie Devine and Bryony Andrew.

“This is an historic first for Queensland but it’s also a vote of confidence in two women who have had impressive careers as mining industry professionals in a male-dominated industry,” Dr Lynham said.

“Women made up less than 15 per cent of the resources sector workforce in 2014 but industry bodies are optimistic about surpassing the 20 per cent mark by 2020.

“Both Ms Devine and Ms Andrew have extensive experience in the mining industry and will make a valuable contribution to the board, which assesses and examines applicants for safety positions and issues certificates of competency.”

The board determines the required qualifications and experience for workers to serve in key safety-critical positions in mines and quarries. All board members must hold a mining certificate of competency and have at least 10 years’ practical mining experience.

Bryony Andrew is the manager of the Poitrel coal mine near Moranbah in Central Queensland. She has a background in mining engineering, with significant industry experience as a production manager, and development manager.

Julie Devine is a senior mines inspector with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines since 2009. Before that, she had a two-decade career as a mining engineer, mine manager and mines inspector in Queensland and Papua New Guinea.

With the Board of Examiners meeting again this week, Dr Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to increasing female representation on government boards and committees.

“Since July 2015, women’s representation on government boards has grown from 31 per cent to 37 percent in January 2016,” he said.

Townsville shipshape for trade growth

Container vessel Kota Nasrat has docked in Townsville for the first time as Mariana Express Lines continues to expand its Asia North Australia (ANA) service.

Mariana Express Lines started the ANA service between Asia, Townsville and Darwin in 2009 and the service quickly grew to include more ports.

Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) general manager trade and property Claudia Brumme-Smith said the addition of Kota Nasrat to the Townsville service demonstrated confidence in the future of the Port of Townsville and the growth outlook for northern Queensland.

“New ships servicing the route between Townsville and Asia mean North Queensland residents and businesses between Cairns and Mackay, as well as out to Mount Isa, can receive the products they need for everyday living and trade faster and more efficiently, without additional road or rail freight costs that apply when entering Australian ports further south,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.

“POTL and the stevedoring companies that operate in Townsville have made significant investments, and will continue to do so, to attract container trade for Northern Australia to Townsville.

“Increased berth capacity, improved container handling equipment and integrated transport solutions are key factors in ensuring that container services such as Mariana’s ANA continue to connect our region with the world.”

Built in 2008, the 21,000-tonne Kota Nasrat is the first Pacific International Lines (PIL) vessel to be phased into Mariana’s Australian service.


Businesswoman takes up the fight for formworkers

Ipswich entrepreneur Kaitlyn Moore has taken on Chinese manufacturers in the formwork business and is now leading the charge to give the Australian industry a stronger voice.

The owner and managing director of O’Connell Agencies registered the Formworkers Association of Australia (FAA) last year.

“After 14 years in the construction industry, I became somewhat of an agony aunt of the formworkers, who rang me and offloaded their difficulties and challenges they faced within the industry, in both construction and management,” she said.

“I came to establish the FAA by listening to the needs, wants and problems of my clients and deciding to do something about it.”

The association is aimed at formwork companies and supply business owners rather than the general workforce.

Ms Moore said she was still doing the groundwork to create an online presence for the association to help accelerate its growth.

“We are currently looking for members – people who have an interest in the formwork industry and think they could be part of this platform to voice concerns and advance standards in the industry,” she said.

Ms Moore said her business was going from strength to strength after establishing manufacturing facilities at a 1.3ha factory site in Ipswich about a year ago.

“That has allowed me to increase production and manufacture around the clock if necessary,” she said.

“I have been able to accept bigger projects and really expand.”

Her business manufactures circular, rectangular and square forms for concrete building columns as well as the accessories need for commercial formwork.

Ms Moore grew up in Oak Valley outside Townsville before moving to Ipswich aged 11 after her mum, who was a teacher, was transferred.

“It brought me closer to my dad, who owned his own formwork company in Brisbane, and I guess that’s where my passion for the construction industry began,” she said.

She said she had started operating O’Connell Agencies from her garage in 2002, distributing nails and silicone to jobsites in Brisbane.

“I learnt how to import products from China, so started to buy in bulk and then wholesale to national formwork supply companies,” she said.

“When importing from China became very popular and my competition increased, I looked towards manufacturing to secure my future.”

Ms Moore made the switch four years ago and was manufacturing PVC column forms at a smaller site in Tingalpa, Brisbane before establishing the Ipswich factory.

She said her business had grown to the point where she was using nine machines, employed 17 people and had a multimillion-dollar turnover.

“I would like to make a point about my wonderful team – I wouldn’t be here without the support of the people around me,” Ms Moore said.

Ms Moore was recognised in the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Queensland’s annual Crystal Vision Awards last year, taking out an award for diversity.



Palmer back at refinery helm

Clive Palmer has announced that the Yabulu refinery will remain open under a new joint venture manager, Queensland Nickel Sales, which he will head.

“The funding facility will be secured against assets outside of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd which were not available to the voluntary administrators in the discharge of their duties as manager of the Yabulu refinery,” Mr Palmer said.

Queensland Nickel Sales would replace Queensland Nickel as the manager of the operations at Yabulu and associated Townsville Port facilities with immediate effect, he said.

Mr Palmer said Queensland Nickel Sales would offer all current employees of Queensland Nickel employment on the same terms and conditions as they were currently engaged.

“I have been working diligently for weeks to find a solution to secure the long-term operations of the Yabulu refinery and its workforce in the best interests of the Townsville economy,” Mr Palmer said.

“I have been harshly vilified with false allegations in respect of this matter. The Queensland government and the Treasurer Curtis Pitt have done nothing to protect the livelihoods of the people of North Queensland.”

Queensland Nickel went into voluntary administration in January after sacking 237 workers on the back of continued low nickel prices.

Mr Palmer told the ABC on Monday he would use $23 million of his own cash to back the replacement management company for the refinery.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt has called on Mr Palmer to detail the effects on workers and creditors of his new corporate arrangements for managing and operating the Yabulu nickel refinery.

“Administrators of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd, FTI Consulting, have stated that the new arrangements put in place were outside the control of FTI,” Mr Pitt said.

“Mr Palmer needs to explain clearly what this new arrangement means for the existing entitlements of the refinery’s current employees, and what guarantees he can give them about their future employment security and their existing entitlements.

“The employees need clarity.

“Mr Palmer also needs to explain what impact the new arrangements may have on existing creditors including the 237 workers who have already been made redundant.”

The restructure needed to transparent to all concerned and to the wider North Queensland community, he said.

The State Government had been considering a request from the administrators for a $10 million loan guarantee.

But Mr Pitt said FTI had advised the Treasurer’s office that it would no longer seek a loan facility from the State Government.


Win for women in engineering

More than 700 female engineers are now registered with the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (BPEQ), a 30 per cent increase since this time last year.

BPEQ released the figures to coincide with International Women’s Day and Queensland Women’s Week, saying the growth came after BPEQ enacted and participated in several initiatives throughout 2015 with the aim of promoting engineering to women.

BPEQ registrar Kylie Mercer said the results were encouraging, but reiterated the need for BPEQ and the engineering profession to do more.

“In the last 12 months we have recorded a 30 per cent increase in the number of female RPEQs (registered professional engineers), while the overall number of RPEQs has grown at around 7 per cent,” Ms Mercer said.

“These figures are above growth trends in the broader profession and demonstrate BPEQ is achieving its objectives through different programs and initiatives.

“Another performance indicator is the number of female RPEQs standing as candidates for election to the Board; approximately 10 per cent of candidates are women.

“BPEQ recognises that much more needs to be done and in 2016 we will continue our partnerships with women in engineering groups at the Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland, look to establish new partnerships in the profession and host workshops designed for women engineers.”



Processing deal for Lorena gold project

Malachite Resources has entered into a heads of agreement with Ore Processing Services to establish a mobile mineral processing plant at the Lorena gold project, about 15km east of Cloncurry.

OPS will take responsibility for the supply, commissioning and operation of the whole mineral processing plant, which will be constructed as mobile units.

In a statement to the market today, Malachite said the main advantage of this approach was lower construction cost as the units could be built off-site and transported to site fully commissioned.

The mobile plant would provide flexibility to remain on site if more resources were identified, or to relocate to other regional opportunities or other projects within Australia.

It is intended that a mining contractor will be engaged to deliver ore to a mobile crushing system for processing through the OPS plant modules.

Malachite chairman Terry Cuthbertson said the board was delighted to have reached an agreement with OPS which established a sound platform for achieving gold production at the earliest opportunity.

“Following protracted but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to reach an appropriate commercial agreement with BCD Resources NL (BCD), the Malachite board is now excited at the prospect of moving ahead with the development of the Lorena gold project entirely independently of BCD,” he said.

The Lorena gold project is expected to produce about 30,000 to 35,000 oz of recovered gold in 18 months of production from an open-cut operation and the company believes there is potential for resource extensions at depth.

Toowoomba suppliers urged to connect with council

PIC: More than $14 million in subcontracts were awarded to local contractors during construction of the newly completed  Toowoomba City Library.


Toowoomba Regional Council has invited more than 7000 current and prospective suppliers to take part in an online survey designed to promote greater local business opportunities with council.

TRC finance and business strategy general manager Arun Pratap said the council was looking to improve the information flow between it and local businesses.

“Council is committed to sourcing goods and services locally to help local businesses grow and prosper,” Mr Pratap said.

“There are many benefits to purchasing locally, such as saving time and money on transport, utilising local knowledge to determine if the product will do the job under our particular environmental constraints and adding to an overall sense of mutual support within the community.”

Mr Pratap said Council had been engaging with industry leaders and business representatives for the past six months to better clarify and promote its procurement policies.

“The ratepayer and the community as a whole are the ultimate winners in having streamlined, modified policies in this area. As our economy grows, so too do job opportunities and that flows on to greater spending power for businesses and individuals,” he said.

“Council is keen to hear community views on what is working well and what needs to be changed or improved in relation to its procurement practices.”

Mr Pratap said the council had been holding seminars, workshops and meetings to discuss procurement issues and the survey at would add to the information collated at those events.

“We are doing this with a view to encouraging greater levels of local supplier participation and involvement in the procurement process. This could be the opportunity some local companies need to engage more fully with council,” he said.

Kidston power proposal gets a boost

Photo: The Kidston site has two large adjacent pits which will act as the upper and lower reservoirs for the pumped storage hydro generation scheme. 


Genex Power’s $580 million energy project near Kidston, 280 kilometres north-west of Townsville, has been granted special status as a prescribed project said Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham.

‘Prescribed project’ status would enable the Coordinator-General to assist Genex Power to progress the project, including ensuring timely approvals across governments said Dr Lynham.

The project on the site of the former gold mine will create more than 500 local jobs. Genex proposes:

  • a 150 megawatt solar power generation farm
  • a 330 megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric scheme, using the former mine pits and their stored water
  • 185km transmission line to carry power to the coast and the main Powerlink line between Townsville and Cairns.

“The Kidston project will support our policy to generate 50 per cent of Queensland’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030,” Dr Lytham said.

Dr Lynham said the project was a first in terms of co-locating large scale solar with large scale energy storage.

“And it’s re-cycling the infrastructure of the former Kidston gold mine which closed in 2001, a world first by using a disused mine site for hydro-electric power generation,” he said.

The $300 million solar farm involves installing solar PV on the former mine’s 300 hectares of rehabilitated tailings storage area.

It is one of 10 Queensland solar projects shortlisted earlier this year by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The pumped storage hydroelectric project, which is being developed in parallel, is proposed to be Australia’s third largest hydro power generator, at 330 MW.

Construction starts on the solar farm in the final quarter of 2016 and on the hydroelectric project and transmission line in 2017.

“The project has the potential to meet all the peak power generation demands of North Queensland and some of Central Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

The design of the hydro project proposes for water to be released from one of the former mine pits into the other through reversible turbines. This is similar to Wivenhoe Power Station at Lake Wivenhoe, 90km north-west of Brisbane, and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme in New South Wales.

During off-peak power consumption periods, the turbines will function as pumps and pump the water back into the upper reservoir to repeat the cycle.


FIFO numbers fall in the Bowen Basin

The latest statistical analysis on non-resident working population trends in the Bowen Basin shows what everyone knows.

There are less workers flying in and out now than in the boom.

The figures from The Queensland Government Statistician’s Office Bowen Basin population report 2015 are accurate as of mid-2015 and show four per cent, or 690 less workers on shift than at the same time in June 2014.

That came in at 15.665, down from a peak of 24,035 workers in 2012.

Other key findings of this report include:

  • While mine closures and workforce restructuring have been contributing factors, most of this downturn has been due to completion of construction on new coal mine and coal seam gas (CSG) projects.
  •   The LGA of Isaac (R) had the region’s largest population of non–resident workers on-shift in June 2015 (10,400), some 685 persons or 6% fewer than the preceding year.
  •   Numbers of non–resident workers on-shift also fell in Banana (S) (–545 persons or –38%) and Whitsunday (R) (Bowen only), (–35 persons or –8%) during the year to June 2015.
  •   By contrast, the non-resident population of Central Highlands (R) grew by 580 persons or 17%, reaching 3,955 in June 2015. Losses of production workers at some mines in the LGA were offset by large but temporary workforces engaged in maintenance and plant upgrades.

Bowen Basin region

  •   Worker accommodation villages (WAVs) across the Bowen Basin
    housed around 14,940 non–resident workers on-shift (or 95% of the total) in June 2015. The balance of 725 workers was accommodated in hotels/motels and caravan parks.
  •   There were 54 WAVs operating in the Bowen Basin in June 2015, a net loss of nine establishments from June 2014. Total capacity of Bowen Basin WAVs in June 2015 was estimated at 26,945 beds, a decrease of 1,265 beds or 4% from June 2014.
  •   The proportion of hotel/motel rooms in the Bowen Basin that were vacant and available decreased slightly, from 65% in June 2014 to 63% in June 2015.
  •   Exports of coal from Bowen Basin mines for the year ending 30 June 2015 reached an all-time high of around 212.27 million tonnes (Mt), an increase of around 11.45 Mt from the preceding year.