Women digging into mining jobs in the Far North

MINING in the Far North may be regarded as a man’s world, but women are holding their own in the male-dominated industry.
GIRL POWER: Tiffany West is a truck operator for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Caval

GIRL POWER: Tiffany West is a truck operator for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Caval Ridge mine west of Mackay, which bucks the trend by employing about 30 per cent female workers when the industry trend is only about 14 per cent, a figure the Australian Mines and Metals Association hopes to see increase by 25 per cent by 2020. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE. Source: News Limited

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the region has fewer female miners than anywhere else in Queensland.

Labour force data from August shows there are 300 women working in mines in the Cairns region compared to 1800 men.

Mackay region has attracted the largest number of women (1400) compared with 13,700 men.

Overall, women comprised 13.8 per cent of Australia’s mining sector workforce, up from 12.9 per cent in 2011 and 12.2 per cent in 2008.

Clifton Beach resident Tiffany West has worked in the mining industry in central and northern Queensland for more than five years, starting her career as a cleaner.

 

Cairns miner Tiffany West on the job at Moranbah

Cairns miner Tiffany West on the job at Moranbah Source: Supplied

 

The 25-year-old is currently employed as a truck driver at the Caval Ridge coal mine, west of Mackay.

She drives a Caterpillar 793F mining truck, which stands about 6.4m high.

Ms West says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Yes, we are in a men’s world, but I love it,’’ she said.

She estimated about 30 per cent of her colleagues at the mine site were women.

“I think a lot of women get scared of there being so many men, and being in a room alone, that sort of thing,’’ she said. “But they don’t need to.

“The industry has grown up a lot over the years.”

The Australian Mines and Metals Association is trying to see women’s participation in mining, energy and related construction rise by more than 25 per cent by 2020.

Ms West said other women who wanted to enter the industry needed to have definite plan and had to be willing to work hard.

“It is a sausage fest out there,’’ she said.

“I’ve had people ask me whether I ever want to get into relationships out there and I always say no, because I’m strictly out there to work.

“I’ve got a future.

“I’m 25 and want to buy a house and set my life up here, so relationships there are strictly out of bounds.

“Definitely set your goals and know what you want first.”

comments powered by Disqus