Women continue to be recognised for the contribution to the resources industry and BHP Billiton has been singled out for its commitment to diversity at the annual Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) WA Women in Resources Awards.
Kate Sommerville, BHP’s first female mine manager was named CME Women in Resources Champion for 2011 for her advocacy of women in the resource industry.
She is currently based in the Pilbara as the Mine Manager at the company’s Area C operations and has over 18 years of experience in the mining industry.
Sommerville is also a board member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and said she hoped her CME award would inspire other women.
‘I’m honoured by this award and pleased to be able to thank the many people at BHP Billiton who believed in me and supported me along the way,” she said.
“I hope my story will inspire other women to continue to pursue their goals and believe that anything is possible.”
The BHP Billiton Pilbara Childcare Strategy was also acknowledged at the awards for enhancing the attraction and retention of women in the resource industry, though improved access to childcare.
The strategy, in partnership with the YMCA alleviated the severe shortage of childcare places in Newman and Port Hedland with the establishment of two new YMCA childcare centres.
BHP Billiton’s Iron Ore president, Ian Ashby said the awards identified the company’s commitment to equality.
“At BHP Billiton we are incredibly proud of our team’s achievements at the CME Women in Resources Awards today,” he said.
“We applaud both Kate Sommerville and everyone involved in the BHP Billiton Pilbara Childcare Strategy for making a real difference to women in the resources industry.”
The changes to childcare in the Pilbara have signalled a new era, according to YMCA chief executive Ron Mell.
“Services such as childcare are important to the creation of thriving regional towns,” he said.
“The new childcare centres will provide will provide many years of service to the community and are a lasting legacy from BHP Billiton to Port Hedland and Newman.
“YMCA has worked closely with BHP Billiton Iron Ore to ensure the best possible service is available to families in the Pilbara.
“We have recruited professional and passionate staff to manage the centres and look forward to being part of these communities for many years to come.”
As part of International Women’s Day, events and awards are being held across the world to recognise the importance of females in countless sectors and initiatives.
The Queensland resource industry announced their target to have 20 per cent female staff by 2020, and awarded the best and brightest in the industry at this morning’s International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards breakfast held in Brisbane.
Image: Kate Sommerville, BHP Billiton.