Two senior Glencore female executives with strong Mount Isa connections are in the running for a major Queensland mining award.
Maryann Wipaki, General Manager HSEC, Queensland Metals and Virginia Lawson, General Manager Metallurgical Processing, Copper Assets, Glencore Australia have been named finalists in the prestigious QRC/WIMARQ Resources Awards for Women.
Ms Wipaki is a finalist in the Exceptional Women in Queensland Resources category that recognises exceptional achievement in the resources sector, including outstanding leadership, overcoming barriers and contributing towards resource communities.
Ms Wipaki began her mining career at Mount Isa Mines over 25 years ago in the underground copper mine as a document writer and trainer. She was one of a small group of people to develop the first safety and health management system for Mount Isa Mines. Maryann now manages a substantial portfolio with diverse and complex responsibilities in the areas of health and safety, environmental performance and community engagement across the Queensland Metals business. As Chief of Staff for the Regional Strategic Response Team she has provided guidance through some of the most challenging situations our company and industry has faced and has been instrumental in the implementation of our current safety and health management system.
Ms Lawson is one of three finalists in the Exceptional Queensland Women in Resources in Technological Innovation category which recognises achievements in the use and promotion of technological innovation and solutions in the resources sector.
Ms Lawson boasts a career that spans 30 years in minerals processing across Australia and Canada, including Mount Isa. With a passion for learning about and improving flotation processes, Virginia's work has focused on innovative technologies that have been a game changer for our industry, allowing mines to become more competitive, efficient and sustainable. In her early years at Mount Isa Mines she was exposed to the Jameson Cell during its development, optimisation and testing. As part of the Glencore Technology team, she was instrumental in applying Jameson Cell technology into new flotation circuits that are lower cost, easier to operate and have improved metallurgy.
Following success in Glencore Technology, Virginia has transitioned to a global technical leadership role where her historical work around innovative technologies allows her to support our copper operations and projects in operational improvement and technology innovation.
The Resources Awards for Women ceremony will be held on 10 March at the QRC/WIMARQ International Women's Day Breakfast in Brisbane with 14 women vying for six awards.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said a recent member survey showed the proportion of women employed in Queensland's resources sector increased from six percent in 2006 to almost 20 percent in 2020.
"Over the past 12 months there's also been a three percent jump in the number of women employed in resources, which is our largest ever annual increase and shows the industry is moving in the right direction," he said.
Mr Macfarlane said the work of the QRC's education arm, the Queensland Minerals and Education Academy was making an impact on female and Indigenous job participation rates in resources.
"The QMEA was set up to encourage high school students to consider a career in resources by exposing them to real-world mining experiences and school-based skills training, with an emphasis on encouraging diversity and inclusion across our workforce," he said.
"The QMEA has exceeded all of our expectations and we now have 80 schools across Queensland involved, with more looking to come on board, and an increasing number of female and Indigenous students taking part in our sought after programs."
WIMARQ chair Kellie How said Queensland's annual Resources Awards for Women had sparked similar events in other states, culminating in the 2014 launch of a national awards event.
"Many of our state winners have gone on to win a national award, which demonstrates the quality of our candidates and the level of excellence being achieved right here in Queensland," she said.
"Our awards event is usually a sell-out so I encourage anyone who wishes to attend to book their ticket or table as soon as possible.
"We will also live-stream the event and follow-up panel debate on women in leadership to simultaneous breakfasts in regional centres."
To register for the QRC/WIMARQ International Women's Day Breakfast and follow-up debate on women in leadership visit www.qrc.org.au/events/
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