Mia Gous

Mia Gous

Job title (at time of interview)Senior Vice President


“Be proud of who you are. Set both professional and personal goals and work on them every day. Importantly, remember to balance your work and personal life.”
July 2022
Mia was appointed Senior Vice President of Newmont Australia in July 2022, after joining Newmont in the role of General Manager, Boddington. Mia’s career in the mining industry spans more than 27 years across multiple commodities (heavy minerals, zinc, lead, copper, and gold). Her operational experience has included roles in Africa, Europe, South America, and Australia. Some of her key roles include Concentrator Manager at Lisheen Zinc mine in Ireland, Technical Manager at Chagres Smelter in Chile, and General Manager at the BHP Spence mine in Chile, where she became the first woman in Chile to take on a General Manager role in major mining.
Mia is passionate about the creation of safe workplaces, underpinned by equality and inclusivity. Mia develops empowered, high-performing teams that create value through the implementation of diverse ideas.
In 2019, Mia received the Influential Women in Chile – Leadership award and was recognized as one of the 100 Female Leaders in Chile.
Mia holds a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
By Kathy Sole
  • Please tell us how you came to select metallurgy and mining as a career choice?

    My father always told me I could do anything if I work hard at it, so I never grew up with any predetermined ideas or restrictions about what I could or couldn’t do in life. At school, I loved science and maths, so engineering was a nice fit with these interests.
  • Please describe your career progression and how you reached the level of General Manager of a large copper operation in Chile and now Senior Vice President of the Australian region with two gold operations.

    I started as a metallurgist in the heavy minerals industry working for Anglo American in South
    Africa. After ten years, Anglo American gave me an incredible opportunity to go to Ireland and
    expand my experience not only into the zinc commodity, but also into the Irish culture. Some of my greatest learnings of people empowerment and teamwork came from my time as Concentrator Manager in Ireland.
    When the zinc operations were sold in 2010, I asked to go to Chile, as I wanted to be part of the copper industry, knowing it was such an important future commodity. Luckily there were so many people in the organization who believed in the power of diversity and the development of internal talent, so I was given the opportunity to go to the Chagres Smelter in Chile as Technical Manager. Due to the patience and support of the Chileans, I learnt the language, the culture, and the copper business.
    In 2016, I was given the opportunity to become the Production Manager at BHP’s Spence operation. This was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in mining operations and expand my technical processing experience. In 2018, I was appointed General Manager at the Spence operation, and managed the construction of a new concentrator to extend the life of the operation. Once again, due to teamwork and empowerment, the Spence team safely met some very challenging goals.
    Living and working in Antofagasta with my family for more than three years was rewarding and enriching, despite some testing times such as flooding, social and political unrest, and Covid.
    In 2021, we left Chile and moved to Australia, where I joined Newmont as the General Manager at Boddington. The opportunity to work at Newmont Boddington, one of the largest gold mines in the world, professionally was very attractive. It also aligned with some of our family needs, including education and study opportunities for my daughters. Coming to Newmont has been more than I dreamt it would be, and the acceptance and support we received from the Boddington team and local community was fantastic.
    In July this year, I was appointed to the regional role of Senior Vice President for Newmont in the Australian region.
  • Your career has included senior roles in South Africa, Chile, and now Australia. How would you characterise the mining cultures in these various locations, particularly with respect to acceptance of women in this industry?

    Of course, each country has unique cultural aspects that shape what the workplaces are like. However, the challenges are the same for everyone in the mining industry, irrespective of location. Respectful behaviour and inclusion for everyone, are key challenges and also opportunities. Instead of focussing on the differences across the mining industry, we should come together and solve these common issues, sharing our diverse solutions.
  • How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the operations that you managed? What are the positives that you can take away from this experience?

    It was extremely challenging. As a leader, we were not prepared for the global impact of the pandemic. As the situation became more and more uncertain, it was difficult to be able the answer the questions from our teams and our communities, and to predict how it would unfold. Some of the positives that arose were the support and collaboration of teams, businesses, and industry, where mining in many jurisdictions took a leading role in vaccine roll-outs, testing regimes, and information sharing.
  • Please describe your personal and professional attributes that you consider have been most influential in your success.

    I love working together with different people and hearing different points of view. This is what drives me in my work every day, as well as seeing people come together to make a difference.
  • What has been the most rewarding professional experience or project of your career?

    In 2008, when the economic crisis hit Ireland, we were afraid that we would need to close the operation. The way we managed to continue operating was the result of everyone coming together to safely increase the production. It was just extraordinary. Everyone was empowered to share their ideas and implement them. The Ireland operation had more than 300 families depending on the continued operation for its livelihood, so when we managed to not close it, it was a feeling of more than just production and earnings, it was a feeling of saving entire families from dire circumstances.
  • What has been most challenging in your career?

    Covid has been one of the most challenging things I have faced, on both a personal and professional level. As a leader at our operations, keeping people safe was the number one priority. Ensuring the right health information is being communicated, managing changes to protocols has been a challenge for me and my team. I have had to balance this with the fears I had for my family through this time, and trying to make sure we could also be as safe as possible.
  • As a leader in this industry, working with a variety of stakeholders ranging from government ministers, corporate executives, technical and operational staff, please share your leadership philosophy and how you manage diversity in the workplace.

    I adopt the same position in work and in life: Treat everyone equally with the respect they deserve,
    irrespective of their rank or position.
  • You have been involved in several diverse senior management roles. Do you believe that the presence of women in significant operational and support roles influences the ultimate success of the operation? Does a more diverse operating team lead to better or different decisions?

    I believe all diversity matters, including but not limited to gender. The more diverse thinking we can get into the mining industry, the safer, more productive, and more sustainable our operations and the communities in which we operate will be.
  • It is important to bring new talent into this industry. Do you have any suggestions on how to recommendations for attracting young girls and boys to enter a technical career in a science or engineering field?

    We need to start in schools, and ensure the youth of today receive the quality education required to follow a career in mining. There are so many different jobs and roles and opportunities in our industry. Encouraging students to follow their interests, and giving them the opportunity to pursue technical careers is fundamental to the future of our industry.
  • Do you have any advice to young women starting out in their careers? What do you wish you’d known when you were 25?

    Be proud of who you are. Set both professional and personal goals and work on them every day.
    Importantly, remember to balance your work and personal life.
  • Have you any hobbies, pastimes, or secret talents that you would like to tell us about?

    When I am not working, I enjoy being with my family and especially being a mom. My family guides, participates in, and drives many of my career decisions.