Such was the calibre of finalists in this year’s South Australian Women in Resources Awards that judges could not separate the two winners of the Exceptional Woman in Resources category.
The award recognises the exceptional achievement of a woman in the resources sector and acknowledges professional success, leadership skills, resilience, methods of overcoming barriers, and seeking out and accepting new responsibilities and challenges, while also celebrating work to promote the industry’s reputation and standing in the community.
The accolade was handed out to outstanding candidates from BHP’s Olympic Dam: security superintendent Cassie Chamings, and head of technology Jessica Balasso.
Chamings had inherited a function of extremely low inclusion and diversity and a contracting workforce reluctant to change. She has worked extremely hard to turn this around, breaking new ground for women in the security and mining industries by leading Olympic Dam to be the first Minerals Australia asset to achieve gender balance in security.
Balasso is responsible for the delivery of fit-for-purpose technology systems, services, people, and infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable production across the underground mining operation as well as managing governance and risk. She is also sponsor of numerous training, improvement, and mentorship programs,which have resulted in measurable improvements to operational performance and culture at Olympic Dam.
Other finalists in the category were Beach Energy gas production engineer Anne Abraham, and OZ Minerals superintendent for people, Donna Newman.
The Exceptional Young Woman in Resources category was taken out by OZ Minerals senior geotechnical engineer Tessa Ormerod, an active and founding member of the Inclusion and Diversity Council at OZ’s Carrapateena mine. She also manages a women’s feedback box and communication board for staff on site.
She is an active member of the ‘women in mining network,’ leading the mentoring program in 2021 and is involved in the OZ Minerals community outreach program.
The award finalists and winners were congratulated by Minister for Women, Katrine Hildyard, University of SA Chancellor, Pauline Carr, and SA Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive officer, Rebecca Knol, at a gathering at the Sofitel.
“The Women in Resources Awards champion diversity and help celebrate women who are contributing to the success of the South Australian resources sector,” Knol said.
“Recognising exceptional women in resources is vital if we are going to meet the growing demand for professionals in South Australia’s high-tech, highly skilled resources sector.”
“While the past two years have been challenging for all sectors, it’s important to pause and recognise excellence among our workforces,” Carr said.
Winners in each category have been elevated to finalists in the Women in Resources National Awards which will be announced during Minerals Week in Canberra on September 6.