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Australian Mining Prospect Awards Finalists: Mining's Woman of the Year

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The shortlist for the 10th Annual Prospect Awards Woman of the Year

Liz Watts, Operations Manager Glendell Mine, Glencore

Growing up in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, Liz Watts graduated with a Mining Engineering Degree in 2001, as the only female in a class of seventy.
Watts kicked off her career with Rio Tinto, progressing quickly through the ranks to be promoted to Superintendent level within four years of graduation.
In January 2012, Watts was promoted to the role of Operations Manager at Glendell Mine which last year produced about 7million ROM tonnes. 
Watts is now responsible for managing a site with a workforce of over 380 employees and contractors and a $200 million operating budget. 

Kym Clark, Founder, She’s Empowered

Whilst working as an accountant at Anglo American's Middlemount coal mine, 27-year-old Kym Clark saw there was a gap in the market for women’s workwear and set about ensuring women could be comfortable in PPE.
The line, called Kym by She's Empowered, provides hi-vis everyday safety workwear and maternity uniforms for the growing number of women in the mining and resources industry.
“I could not believe the lack of workwear options for women in mining,” Clark said.  
“Until my business was developed, there were no maternity workwear options for industrial workers. I knew I had the ability and drive to change that.
“Women work in all areas of the industry from administration to underground and open cut roles, and often work upwards of 50 hours a week. Women deserve to wear a well-fitted uniform just like those in any other industry,” she said.
Anglo American is already providing workers with the clothing option.
Clark told Australian Mining She’s Empowered is all about giving women a choice so they can be confident and comfortable at work.
“Being comfortable improves working conditions,” she said.
“Mining is a great industry for women; it just needs a little tweak to make it work better for women.”
Clark’s goal is to help women want to wear workwear.

Claire Stevens, Technical Services Superintendent at Anglo American’s Grasstree mine 

As a woman working in a non-traditional role in underground mining, Claire Stevens has demonstrated considerable leadership to help improve safety and working environments at two underground operations in just 12 months. 
After playing a key role in turning around the performance, improving geotechnical standards and implementing innovative solutions at Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine, Stevens has recently moved to Anglo American’s Grasstree mine, where she is now driving new geotechnical practices to further support production improvements that have been delivered so far this year. 
Stevens drives innovation and redesigned the standing roof support for the tailgate used by Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, which has improved safety, lifted production hours and delivered cost benefits. 
Not only this, but Stevens has also proactively positioned herself as a role model and mentor for other women in the business and provides advice and support to other employees, while ensuring diversity and inclusion are given priority at Anglo American’s underground operations.

Laura Hayman, Senior Geomechanics Engineer, Coffey

With over 10 years’ experience as a Geotechnical Engineer, including five years open pit mine site work, four years underground, and one year consulting in both Hayman has worked extensively in the Goldfields and Pilbara of W.A. She has degrees in Applied Science (Applied Geology), a Bachelor of Engineering (Geological Engineering) and a Masters in Engineering Science (Mining Geomechanics).
Moving from underground to open pit mining she was the first female geotechnical ever on site, and soon became aware that she was a woman in a man’s world. This has never stopped her from achieving her goals though. 
After nine years working on mine sites Hayman decided she wanted to focus on mining geotechnical design work. 
The high achiever says over the next 12 months she hopes to become a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) for both the Australian Institute of Metallurgy (AusIMM) and the Institute of Engineers Australia (IEAust). 

Yolanda Torrisi

A former mining journalist Yolanda Torrisi found herself in the mining sector by default.
During the 2008-2009 GFC Torrisi set up ASIA’s Resource Connections, a mining and mineral processing equipment procurement company supplying Chinese manufactured equipment to Australian and African countries.  
Torrisi is strongly committed to serving the mining industry and set up a not-for-profit organisation in South Africa – The African Mining Network in Johannesburg, to give the African mining industry the same regular networking advantages the mining industry offers around Australia. 

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