CQ miner receives WIMARQ award

Posted March 6, 2015




From driving haul trucks to managing multi-million dollar mine projects, nothing daunts Mackay woman Sandy Newman who was among the winners of Queensland’s prestigious 10th annual Resources Awards for Women.

Sandy, the only female project leader at Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s Hail Creek Mine in Central Queensland won the Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources Award presented today by two newly minted Queensland Government ministers.

Dr Anthony Lynham Minister for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines, and Shannon Fentiman Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, along with Queensland Resources Council (QRC) President Rob Neale, presented the award at the 10th annual QRC/Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) International Women’s Day Breakfast at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the awards and breakfast played an important role in the resources sector’s mission to increase the participation of women in non-traditional roles in the sector to at least 20 percent by 2020.

“The long-term sustainability of our sector relies on attracting and retaining sufficient skilled people from diverse backgrounds, and we need to continue to keep our eye on future needs, even when we are experiencing difficult times,”  Mr Roche said.

Sandy, who balanced a busy full-time job while studying a Bachelor of Engineering Technology at the University of Southern Queensland, jumped at the chance to do something different in her career.

“One day I was designing roads for the department of Main Roads, and the next I was out at Hail Creek Mine, south-west of Mackay, working as an engineer in Technical Services” she said.

“After being on site, I was keen to experience working in an operational role.

“In early 2013 I went into the field as an operator for approximately 18 months and worked on the blast crew, haul and services teams, operating trucks and graders.”

For the past year, Sandy has been managing site’s civil infrastructure projects and is in charge of a team of 20 men.

Prior to that she was the mine’s senior drill and blast engineer – the only female in this critical role at the time.

“I am passionate about talking to girls and young women about life and a career in the mining industry. I know how important it is to share my experience and how that can help someone decide whether they want to come and work in the mining industry,” she said.

More than 600 people attended the Brisbane event, while a further 200 watched proceedings via live webcast at breakfasts in Blackwater, Mackay and Moranbah.

Keynote speaker was Dr Kirstin Ferguson, named by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s top 100 influential women in 2014.



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