This year’s Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Resources Award for Women has been shared by Jennifer Mackenzie and Susan Denk.
The awards are the centrepiece of the QRC’s annual International Women’s Day breakfast, which was held in Brisbane this morning.
Queensland Minister for Women Karen Struthers was on hand to present Mackenzie, the manager of BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Norwich Park coal mine, and Denk, chief operating officer for resources consultancy Unidel, with their awards.
Mackenzie, a metallurgical engineer, was appointed to her role in February this year; making her the both the first woman and first person from a processing background to manage a BMA mine.
She was also the first woman to be appointed by BMA as a coal handling and preparation plant manager and is only the second woman to have held an operational management position within BMA.
To add to this already extensive list of credentials, Mackenzie also founded the company’s Operational Working Women’s Group, which provides education, initiatives and professional development.
“As a woman in my current position, I have the ability to not only positively influence those coming after me, but also set the standard by which all in the industry should expect professional women to conduct themselves,” she said.
“I am very aware of my responsibility to myself, those in my team, those who believe in me and support me every day and those who have provided me with some very special opportunities in my career.”
Denk, a petroleum engineer by trade, has also worked in operations, management and executive roles during her 15 years in the energy and infrastructure sectors.
The QRC believes she may have been the first female engineer to work in the Jackson oilfields in south-west Queensland and the first woman to work offshore for Schlumberger in the Java Sea.
She has also worked as Schlumberger’s IT manager for the Middle East and Asia and became involved in the company’s education excellence program for schools.
She has served on the board of Lourdes Hill College in Brisbane and was recently appointed chair of the Women in Mining and Resources Queensland group.
“It is important to me to play a role in creating greater options, not just for my own daughters, but for all bright young women out there who I have contact with through my mentoring and involvement with education,’ she said.
The QRC’s breakfast was this year attended by a record of more than 600 visitors from across the state and from as far as Singapore.
The crowd was made up of mainly female professionals from the resources industry, with men making up only 10% of the attendees.
For the first time this year, a group in Townsville also held a breakfast and viewed the Brisbane event via a Skype hook-up.
Western Australia is also holding its inaugural International Women’s Day breakfast and awards today, based on the Queensland event.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche said the award and breakfast were important elements of the council’s strategy to increase the proportion of women in the resources sector.
“The breakfast provides a flagship networking opportunity, while the awards provide roles models and ambassadors for women in the sector, while highlighting career opportunities to young women,” he said.
“With women making up only 14 percent of our members’ employees, and a skills shortage looming, we need to continue to pull out all stops to attract and retain women in our sector.”
The awards also include categories for trades, operators and a junior award, as well as an award for company initiatives that attract and retain women.
The winners of the other categories were as follows:
Kerry Brisbane – electrical team leader – Xstrata Skills Centre Mount Isa
Jan Simpson — open-cut examiner/assistant shotfirer
Jessica Murphy — Emerald State High School
Best Company Initiative Category:
Anglo American Metallurgical Coal Foxleigh – Mine Hot Seat Crew