Northparkes Mines today recognises the valuable contribution of women in mining as part of International Women’s Day.
Stefanie Loader – Managing Director
At Northparkes we believe the best workforce is a diverse one: it’s key to how we work and our overall success.
Having women in our business enables us to achieve greater productivity and higher profitability. Not only does global research confirm this, so does our business performance.
We aim to attract the best and brightest to work at Northparkes and I’m pleased to introduce some of the outstanding women who work with me and the other men and women who make up the Northparkes team.
I’ve worked in the mining industry for over 20 years and have learnt that success depends on passion, commitment and readiness to learn.
If you complete your HSC, you can achieve this – regardless of your gender, your beliefs, your ancestry or your background. For me, that’s exciting and inspires me to encourage more women to join our leading industry.
Stacey Kelly – Manager People
How many women are employed at Northparkes?
We currently have over 300 permanent employees, of which 20 per cent are women. This is close to double the industry average. Three of the seven members of our leadership team are female.
Within our female workforce, 8 per cent are employed in operational and technical roles and the remaining 12 per cent are in support service roles.
How would you suggest other women build a career in mining?
It is important to open your minds to countless opportunities which exist in the mining industry. There are no roles specific to men or women; at Northparkes we employ the best person for the job regardless of their gender. My advice is decide what you enjoy doing and strive to achieve.
Are women and men paid equally at Northparkes?
Yes! The gender pay gap debate which continues to play out in the media is a non-issue at Northparkes. A salary comparison is completed for every role, which involves reviewing the skills and experiences of the individual, current market data and other relevant roles. At no stage is the individual’s gender taken into consideration.
Roslyn Dalton – Manager Ore Processing
How did you join the mining industry?
Science was always of interest to me, particularly geology, and I also enjoyed being exposed to new places and challenges. I recognised that a career in mining could provide me with all this, and more.
I joined the industry when I finished my Chemistry degree. My father was a coal miner in Central QLD so I guess you could say I grew up with mining.
You lead a team of largely men. What is this like?
For me it’s about leading a team of people, regardless of their gender. That said, we need to actively encourage more women to join the industry and position it as an option women naturally consider.
How do you manage your work life balance to accommodate your young family?
My husband and I made the choice for him to stay home, effectively reversing our roles in the home. This plays a large role in allowing me to manage my work life balance with two young children. He is a gem!
Amanda Hartin – Underground Operator
What do you enjoy most about working at Northparkes?
I work with a great crew who make it fun to go to work.
What advice would you share with other women considering a career in mining?
For a career in operations I would say go in with an open mind and be willing to learn.
Have you ever felt disadvantaged working in a male dominated industry?
No not at all. I have been given so many great opportunities to develop new skills that I never imagined I would have. Most skills are learnt on the job and those with more experience have always been very helpful and supportive.
Rachael Whiting – Health, Safety and Risk Superintendent
What motivates you working at Northparkes?
I enjoy being part of a motivated team that is always looking for better ways to do things, as well as the knowledge that you can make a difference.
How do you look to make a difference?
Engaging others in finding solutions to a problem; a problem shared is a problem halved. I also enjoy providing others with an opportunity to grow and develop.
What role have mentors played in your career development?
Mentors have played an important part in my personal growth and professional career development, from knowledge transfer right through to leadership development. I would not be where I am today without them.
Linda Snyman – Geotechnical Engineer
Why did you study engineering?
I started out studying Geology because I was always fascinated with rocks; rock collecting was high on the list of things to do on family holidays!
As I got further into my degree I realised it wasn’t so much the rocks that fascinated me, but what you can do with the rocks – eg, excavate tunnels through them, build bridges on them etc. I did my Honours degree in Engineering Geology.
Who has inspired you in your career?
My husband. We met underground when I was a graduate and he has supported and encouraged me for the past 17 years! There weren’t many women in mining in South Africa when I started my career, and he was there every step of the way.
Would you encourage other young women to study engineering?
Definitely – I love my work and the new challenges I am faced with every day.
Kelsie Thompson – Electrical Apprentice
How did you become an apprentice at Northparkes?
When I was at Nyngan High I did TVET for electro-technology. From there I looked up Northparkes on the internet and waited to hear of apprenticeship recruitment.
My work experience teacher helped me with my resume and cover letter and now, as they say, the rest is history!
Who do you look to for advice and guidance?
Everyone at Northparkes has knowledge to share and plenty of years on me. I rely mainly on my team members, production operators and leaders for guidance with my work. The training team plays a huge part with guidance and advice throughout my four-year journey with study and qualifications.
What does your family think about your career choice?
At first they were a bit nervous because of the distance from my hometown, family and friends. Once I made it past interview and they got to meet the Northparkes team they felt 100 times better about my decision. Now they love visiting Parkes and are two very proud parents.