All in a days work for celebrated Geochemist

Published: 15/07/2016

The burly, blackened blokes who are stereotypical of the resource sector are taking a back seat as the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council celebrate the skilled females who keep the plants ticking.

In conjunction with the Women in Mining Network Tasmania (WIMnet), the 2016 Tasmanian Women in Resources Awards recognise the contribution of females and celebrates their input into the sector.

But for Ariel Pascoe, a finalist in the 2016 Tasmanian Exceptional Young Women in Resources category, being a female in a traditionally male dominated work force is not something she gives a second thought to.

Working as a geochemist at Grange Resources in Port Latta, Ms Pascoe’s job has made her a jack of all trades.

“There are different challenges every day,, It’s always changing and I feel like I am on the frontline of the final product,” she said.

As a geochemist, Ms Pascoe is responsible for monitoring the water chemistry that can affect pelletisation.

“We need to know what sort of ore is coming up from savage and we need to be able to adjust it because different chemistry produces different pellets.”

Having done a double major in Chemistry and Geology at the University of Tasmania, Ms Pascoe originally started her career in mineral exploration as a field technician with Anglo American in Western Australia.

Part of the challenge of her job at Grange is monitoring and making changes to create pellets that can structurally withstand weight.

“If it is too weak  it can smash up in the furnace. There are layers of pellets as they go down and get fired so the green ones that haven’t been fired have to be strong enough to hold the weight,” she said.

While it may technically be a lab job, according to Ms Pascoe there isn’t a white lab coat in sight.

“There is not a lot of wet chemistry,” she said.

Chief executive officer of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council, Wayne Bould said the resources sector  as an industry is striving to increase female participation in non traditional roles to at least 20 per cent by 2020.

Chair of WIMnet Ted Bradshaw said the industry is keen to encourage women to get on board.

“The industry is keen for young women to look at the resources industries when they are considering careers; including scientists, engineers, company directors, business managers, operators to name a few,” Mr Bradshaw said.

Among the other finalists is Christine Winskill, a senior community stakeholder advisor at MMG Rosebery Mine, who is in the Tasmanian Exceptional Woman in Resources category.

Recently retired, Mrs Winskill is a Rosebery local who worked at MMG Rosebery for nearly 40 years, starting as a typist at the age of 16.

The presentation ceremony of the awards will be held on Friday, July 22 at St Helens.

The category winners in the awards will automatically be put forward as the Tasmanian finalists in the National Women in Resources Awards, which will be held in Adelaide in September.

Not a lab coat in sight: Arial Pascoe described every day at the front line of the pipeline at Port Latta as presenting unique challenges.

Not a lab coat in sight: Arial Pascoe described every day at the front line of the pipeline at Port Latta as presenting unique challenges.