AYOUNG female senior engineer who has been an inspiration to other women working in the resources sector is this year’s winner of the Queensland Resources Council’s Resources Awards for Women ( RAW).
Melanie Gordon ( pictured), who is senior engineer for major projects at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s ( BMA) Goonyella Riverside Mine in central Queensland, is the first woman appointed by BMA as project manager for a dragline shutdown.
The awards were presented by the Queensland Minister for Women, Margaret Keech, at the QRC’s annual International Women’s Day Breakfast in Brisbane on March 7.
She also received an outstanding achievement award in the inaugural Resources Awards for Women in 2006.
Ms Gordon is responsible for 176 people to execute the shutdown scope of work safely, with high quality outcomes and within the defined budget and schedule constraints.
She is managing a long- life bearing trial which could potentially see dragline shutdown frequencies extended by two to three years, resulting in a significant cost saving.
She is also trialing a whole body vibration dose meter in mobile equipment, and plays a strong role in mentoring the mechanical and electrical engineers in her team, devel- oping and managing the 15 year maintenance plan and the five- year budget.
In her speech, Ms Gordon said she chose a career in the mining industry because of the excellent pay and various lifestyle benefits: Originally, I joined to save some money, get practical experience and site credibility to be able to move back to the city in a consulting role. My plan was to stay for two years and then move back to the city and that was more than six years ago.’’
Ms Gordon said the main reason she has stayed in the industry is simply because she loves her job: ‘‘ I’m always busy, I feel challenged and I get to work on new innovations and projects. I also get a real sense of achievement from these. I get offered wonderful training opportunities, and because I work with a great team of people I really have a lot of fun.’’
Ms Gordon also enjoys the lifestyle in mining towns such as Clermont and Moranbah.
‘‘ We spend a lot of time having BBQs and dinners at friends houses, going away to places like Airlie Beach and Mackay for long weekends and going to the gym,’’ she said.
Ms Gordon graduated from the University of Queensland in 2003 after completing a Bachelor of Engineering ( Mechanical) with Honours and a Grad Certificate in Mineral Resources ( Minerals Industry Risk Management).
The University of Queensland’s Professor Graham Schaffer, head of the School of Engineering, offered the university’s congratulations to Ms Gordon on her amazing accomplishment: Melanie’s achievements demonstrate the valuable contribution women are making to the resources sector. The University is proud to have been a part of her successful career.’’
The awards are part of the QRC’s Women in Resources Action Plan ( WRAP), which aims to encourage more women to work in the resources sector.
Currently women make up 11 percent of QRC members’ workforce and in non- traditional roles, the figure is seven per cent.
‘‘ With WRAP, we have set ourselves a target to increase the percentage of our female workforce in non- traditional roles to at least 12 per cent by 2020,’’ said QRC Chief Executive, Michael Roche.
‘‘ I know that Melanie will continue to be a great role model, mentor and ambassador for our industry, and encourage more young women to enter the sector, and just as importantly, continue their careers with us.’’
Ms Gordon said she was honoured to be the recipient of the 2008 Resources Award for Women:
Women who have won this award previously have been an inspiration to me and to be recognised alongside them is a privilege.’’