The winners of the 2017 Women in Resources National Awards were announced on 31 August in Launceston.

The national awards are a partnership between the Minerals Council of Australia and its Northern Territory and Victorian branches, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, the Queensland Resources Council, the New South Wales Minerals Council and the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council, supported by various state Women in Mining Network branches.

The Excellence in Company Diversity Programs and Performance was awarded to St Barbara Limited. In 2010, St Barbara set a diversity target of 30 percent representation of women in the workforce by 2018, to achieve a more balanced gender composition. This included an increase of the overall percentage of women in the workplace, an increase in the number of women returned from parental leave and to reduce the overall pay gap.

The outcome of these strategies has included 100% of women returning from parental leave since 2009, an increase in women working flexibly and a reduced staff turnover from 35 percent in 2010, to 5.5 percent in January 2017. Further, there has also been a reduced overall pay equity gap from 43 percent in 2007, to 12 percent in 2017.

Highly commended in this category was BHP Billiton and its Integrated Remote Operating Centre (IROC). BHP announced last year  it had a goal to achieve gender balance in their organisation by 2025. In order to do this they needed to change the demographic in their business. When IROC was being established they took the opportunity to create a more gender diverse business by focusing on who ‘Miners’ are. In doing this, and implementing a new recruitment process focusing on skills and attributes rather than just experience they have been able to offer entry into the mining industry to people who may not have previously been considered.

Winners in other categories included:

Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources

Winner: Fiona Robertson, Non-Executive Director, Heron Resources (NSW).

Highly Commended: Gabriela Love, Principal Mine Projects Engineer, Newcrest Mining Ltd (Vic).

Outstanding Tradeswomen/Operator/Technician in Australian Resources

Winner: Carolyn Dobson, Diesel Fitter, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) (QLD).

Highly Commended: Sharron Freitas, Production Group Leader, Alcoa of Australia (WA).

Exceptional Young Woman in Australian resources

Winner: Rachel Leong, Lead Surveillance Engineer, Woodside Energy (WA)

Highly Commended: Nikhat Nagin, Principal Engineering, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) (QLD).

Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources

Winner: Vanessa Torres, Vice President, Operation Infrastructure, BHP Iron Ore (WA).

Highly Commended: Kristen Molloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (NSW).

Highly Commended: Karen Alexander, Manager Strategic Alliances, Hastings Deering (NSW).

Special Judges Awards

Andrew Bigg, Operations Manager Mining and Mobile Maintenance, South32 GMECO (NT).

Industry Achievement Award

Michelle Keegan, Vice President Strategy, Incitec Pivot Limited (VIC).