A Dubbo resident has received a national award for blasting away at the barriers to women working in the mining industry.
Processing manager at Alkane Resources’ Tomingley Gold Operations Simone Painter has been named Mentor of the Year at the 2016 Women in Industry Awards.
The annual awards recognise and reward the achievements of women working within the mining, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and commercial road transport industries.
Ms Painter was presented with her award at a ceremony in Melbourne.
Nominated by her “proud” employer, 42-year-old Ms Painter has helped about 50 women find their feet in the industry.
“I feel like I’ve given so much to mentoring women in industry but still have so much more to give,” she said.
Ms Painter’s experience of entering the mining industry led her to a mentoring role.
After graduating from Murdoch University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science (Metallurgy), she discovered the “testing realities of mining at 20” on a fly-in/fly-out site where 200 employees included only five women.
Alkane Resources reports that its star employee not only stuck it out but committed to supporting other women succeed in the male-dominated industry.
“Over the course of her career, Simone has employed and mentored about 50 women, including several from Indigenous backgrounds, as clerks, operators, engineers, managers and technicians,” a company spokeswoman said.
“She builds their confidence by expressing belief in their abilities, sharing the benefits of her experience through helpful advice, and encouraging them to pursue promotions.”
The spokeswoman said Ms Painter supported her female colleagues’ professional development and the balancing of their family and work lives.
“To ensure the success of female employees, Simone also mentors their direct supervisor, typically a male, if they lack experience in dealing with women in the workplace—a common issue in mining,” she said.
When Ms Painter became a miner men outnumbered women 50 to one.
Women now make up a quarter of the mining workforce in Australia.