Gold Coast-based engineer and FIFO worker Lydia Gentle has taken out the top honours at the BHP 2022 Women in Resources National Awards, presented by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) in Canberra.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said Gentle was an outstanding example of the world-class workforce behind the state’s $84.3 billion resources sector.

On top of being a mother of two, Lydia heads a team of 600 people at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Peak Downs metallurgical coal mine near Moranbah in Central Queensland.

With a mining career spanning 17 years, in 2019 Lydia received an Order of Australia for her services to engineering. She is also the youngest Australian to achieve engineering executive status with Engineers Australia and is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“I hope Lydia’s achievements and her long-standing commitment to promoting excellence in our industry will inspire more women to pursue a highly paid and highly skilled career in our industry,” Macfarlane said.

MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said the awards were an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and contributions that women bring to the Australian resources sector.

“Twenty years ago, only 9000 women were employed by Australian mining. Today, 57,000 women comprise 21 per cent of the mining workforce represented at all levels – from company boards to the on-site workforces at mine sites across the country,” she said.

Other winners were:

Newcrest Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Award
Elle Farris, corporate counsel, Newmont Australia, for her inspiring career journey and rapid progression within the resources sector, and her public calls to action to eliminate unacceptable behaviours.

Thiess Outstanding Australian Tradeswoman, Operator or Technician Award
Casey Martin, underground bogger operator and tele-remote operation, Alkane Resources, for her outstanding professional capability and support for women’s career advancement.

Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award
Emily Jaques, senior plant metallurgist, Newcrest Mining, for her innovative work on improving coarse gold recovery at Cadia through the use of HydroFloat technology.

Rio Tinto Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources Award
Michelle Wetherell, superintendent, human resources, training and organisational development, CMOC-Northparkes Mines, for her stewardship of a large number and variety of programs that have contributed to the growing inclusion and diversity at Northparkes.

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