Rebecca Pickering: “I’m a mining girl”

Published: 14/04/2014

As Rebecca Pickering says, “I’m a mining girl”

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For Rebecca, and many women like her, the opportunities in the mining industry are plentiful. In fact, at only 28 she’s already enjoyed a range of different roles in various fields.

Rebecca’s story started in Collie, where her dad was an operator at the mine. Driven by a childhood fascination with the industry she secured a scholarship to study metallurgy at university in Perth.

Four years ago she got a job with Rio Tinto at the Argyle mine – the world’s largest producer of coloured diamonds.

As a Superintendent of the diamond recovery process, Rebecca was part of a multi-disciplinary team of around 10 people, including fitters, electricians and metallurgists. Their jobs involve all aspects of the final stages of extracting the diamonds before they began the next part of their journey as one of Australia’s finest exports and the best in their class.

When she started out in the mining industry, Rebecca’s dad gave her some great advice, “never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself”.

This was valuable advice and has served Rebecca well as she develops and expands her experiences in the mining industry.

Today Rebecca has a planning role as an analyst at Rio Tinto in Perth, where her focus has shifted from diamonds to iron ore – a different commodity with vastly different challenges.

“I really like this industry, it’s not an easy one, but it’s challenging. I’ve been grateful for the opportunities to expand my expertise.”

As Rebecca’s horizons have broadened she reflects on how the benefits of mining extend into the broader community. Particularly when she lived in the the beautiful Kununurra region with her boyfriend Tim, a voluntary ambulance officer – an organisation Rebecca was also involved with.

“It’s great to see how mining helps everyone. Not just people who work in the industry but the community as a whole”.

Rebecca, like many women who have taken on the challenges of working in the Australian mining industry, is confident that this career path has no limits for those who are prepared to work for them.

“You never know what the future holds, it’s so exciting” says Rebecca.