Paul Everingham: Women in Resources finalists highlight changing face of mining in WA

Paul EveringhamPilbara News
Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham.
Camera IconChamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

It was extremely exciting earlier this month to announce our finalists for the 2022 Women In Resources Awards.

WIRA is always one of my favourite times of the year. It’s an event where a wide cross-section of the WA mining and resources community gets together to celebrate the outstanding contribution women make to operations around the State.

Readers will likely have read a little bit about Deanne Renting, who is a finalist in the Outstanding Woman category and the production manager at Chevron’s Wheatstone. Not surprisingly, a healthy proportion of the individual finalists work in WA’s North West, in areas ranging from Indigenous affairs management to large-scale iron ore projects and Shell’s giant Prelude floating LNG facility.

As a collective, our finalists display talent, dedication, perseverance, courage, ingenuity, teamwork, selflessness and a wide range of other valuable characteristics you’d look for not only in employees but also in leaders. They are enthusiastic and important mentors for newcomers to our sector and younger people coming through the ranks.

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Another thing that’s true of our finalists is that many of them have overcome significant challenges not only to find a foothold in mining and resources but then to build thriving and impactful careers.

Traditionally, our sector has been a male-dominated one. It wasn’t until 1986 that women were finally allowed to work underground at WA mine sites.

The finalists for WIRA 2022 showcase how the make-up of WA mining and resources is changing all the time. But we know we still have a long way to go.

CME’s last Diversity Report in 2019 found that female participation in our sector was only 20.3 per cent. Even if that figure improves for our next report — and anecdotal evidence suggests it will — it’s still going to be some way short of the gender parity we must seek.

Equally, events over the past 12 months have highlighted that some of the behaviour demonstrated towards women in our sector has not been acceptable.

CME and its member companies have participated fully in the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Sexual Harassment Against Women In The FIFO Mining Industry and are committed to eliminating the types of behaviour that have been identified. We will continue to educate our workforce on the importance of respect for others and the value of diversity.

WIRA and the stories behind our finalists are some of the most powerful educational tools that we could hope for in that respect.

Those finalists are inspirational, reflective of the calibre of people we have in our sector and the opportunities available to them, and clearly demonstrate the benefits that are delivered through having a diverse and inclusive workforce.

I’m very excited about the prospect of crowning our winners a little later in the year. In the meantime, for a full rundown of the 2022 finalists please visit wira.net.au.

  • Paul Everingham is the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive

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