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Sabrina McKenzie on site at Prominent Hill (also cover) Image: Chris Warrior

FRONTIER WOMEN Trailblazing women in South Australia’s male-dominated resources sector together with gender diversity advocates were celebrated at a landmark awards event in July. By Bridget Fardon Sabrina McKenzie, a young plant operator employed by Thiess at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine, started her working life in hospitality before being attracted to mining. She came in as a trainee and progressed to a CAT D10 Operator, breaking new ground as an Aboriginal woman in a male dominated industry. Sabrina’s achievements, and those of other women instrumental to the South Australian resources sector, were celebrated at the inaugural Women in Resources SA Awards, presented on 31 July this year. Sabrina received the Outstanding SA tradeswomen, operator or technician award. The awards aim to recognise the important role women play in the resources sector and celebrate their contributions and achievements, together with the achievements of those playing a leading role supporting women in the sector. Terry Burgess, SACOME President and member of the awards judging panel, commented that the judges were very impressed with the high quality of candidates.


“With close to 40 nominations in the first year of these awards, it is a credit to the calibre of women we have in the South Australian resource sector,” Terry said. The awards are an initiative of the Women in Resources South Australia committee (WinRSA), which coordinates a number of project, including events and a newly established mentoring program in collaboration with WIMnet (the AusIMM committee focused on gender diversity). Jason Kuchel, Chief Executive of SACOME said the work of SACOME’s WinRSA committee “is crucial to growing the numbers of women in the South Australian resource sector, in particular those in senior positions”. In making a difficult decision from an impressive collection of nominations, the judges commented on Sabrina’s community involvement. She chooses to remain within her Kalparrin community where she assists with various programs including a children’s care program, is a member of the Ngarrindi Women’s Organisation and is also continuing her studies through TAFE.

“Sabrina is an excellent role model for the resources sector,” Terry said. “She has excelled in her roles as a plant operator, Indigenous mentor and active community contributor.” Sabrina attended the awards with her grandparents, who are Elders in the Kalparrin community. On accepting her award Sabrina acknowledged her family and the “Dingo Crew” back at Prominent Hill for their patience and the skills they had passed onto her. Jo Barron-Perry, Senior Mining Engineer-Mine Growth at BHP Billiton, has built a successful career working in traditionally male-dominated roles at BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other mining companies over more than two decades. Jo won two of the five award categories – Exceptional Woman in SA Resources Award and Gender Diversity Champion– in recognition of her impressive career accomplishments while balancing family life (including through challenging periods of industry downturns and fly in/fly out work) and her support for other women, including serving on a variety of groups and helping to shape policy.

Resourcing SA - Spring 2015  

This is the launch issue of Resourcing SA, a magazine focused on the people, communities and stories surrounding South Australia's dynamic m...

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