In­spi­ra­tional win­ner

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

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.’’

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