Melanie Gordon is a young engineer who loves working in the resources sector and will take any opportunity to tell others how fantastic a career in the industry can be.
Her obvious passion for the industry has resulted in a second award in three years in the Queensland Resources Council’s annual Resources Awards for Women. In 2006 she received an outstanding achievement award, and this year has taken the trophy and the top honour.
Melanie, Senior Engineer-Major Projects with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is the first woman appointed by the company to project manage a dragline shutdown.
In this role she is responsible for 176 people.
Melanie has been involved in numerous forums to encourage young women to enter the industry and is currently involved in an initiative to set up networking events for women in the mining industry in and around Moranbah through her involvement in Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ).
She has appeared in newspapers, magazines and on radio to spread the word about careers in the sector.
“If you have any interest in working in the resources industry then give it a go,” she says.
“Certainly don’t ever think that females don’t belong in the resources industry because I know many amazing women who have achieved amazing things and have stories similar to mine.”
Initially, Melanie joined the resources sector for high pay and other benefits such as subsidised rent and medical insurance.
She intended to save some money, get some practical experience on mine sites and move back to her home city of Brisbane after about two years.
Well, that was six years ago. In that time she married her husband, also an engineer, who she met at university, and is happy to swap the bright lights of the city for life in the close-knit community of Moranbah.
“When I first left Brisbane for the bush my friends were all taking bets on how many days or weeks I would last out west because they had no idea of what goes on in a mining town and neither did I.
“My husband and I barely have a free weekend and are always busy with our friends.
“Moranbah has horse racing days, markets, a cinema, and award-winning shoe shop, nice restaurants and just about every type of sporting activity you can think of.
“We spend a lot of time having barbeque dinners at friends’ houses, going away to places like Airlie Beach and Mackay for long weekends and going to the gym.”
Melanie has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, a Graduate Certificate in Mineral Resources, Masters of Science and Technology in Industrial Safety and a Masters of Project Management.
And she’s putting these qualifications to good use.
She is currently managing a long-life bearing trial, which could potentially see dragline shutdown frequencies extended by up to three years, resulting in significant cost savings.
She is also trialling a whole-of-body vibration dose meter in mobile equipment. The meter provides live feedback to the equipment operator allowing them to modify their operating techniques to reduce their exposure to vibration and any associated long-term health effects.