Dragline success about trust, says first woman trainee

THE first woman dragline trainee at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Saraji coal mine, Marianne Finch, believes the key to succeeding in both the role, and the industry as a whole, is through developing trust within your crew.
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BMA's Saraji open cut mine in Queensland.

Lou Caruana

Employed within the mining industry for almost 10 years, Finch started her career driving trucks at BMA’s Peak Downs coal mine in 2005.

After learning the bulldozer, it was on to the digger, before finally a move to BMA’s Saraji mine in 2012 created an opportunity for Finch to start the dragline traineeship.

“When accepting this opportunity, I questioned whether I had done the right thing,” she said.

“However through the support of my team and friendships on site, I was able to push through those thoughts and I’m now confident I’ve made the right decision.

“And I’ve enjoyed the challenge every day since.”

Finch’s crew supervisor, Rob Jacobsen, said she had the right attitude to build a strong career for herself.

“She is a keen learner and not afraid to try anything new,” he said.

Dragline trainer and assessor, Lyndon Bayles, echoed Jacobsen’s comments.

“With more practical training, it won’t be long until we pass Marianne out as a ‘smooth operator’ here on site – a title every dragline operator strives to achieve,” he said.

Finch has words of advice for women who might be considering pursuing a career as an operator in the mining industry.

“Continue to push the norm and don’t take second prize,” she said.

“But above all, be sure you want the role, be sure you will stick at it and when given the opportunity – don’t quit.

“Persist at it and prove to those higher than you why you not only deserve that role, but also any future opportunities that may come along.”

Finch said being a dragline operator was the best role on site.

“The role is challenging and pushes you out of your comfort zone every day,” she said.

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