Coal women shine in NSW mining industry

MINING engineer and Coal Services Southern Mines Rescue manager Erin Lee has been named as the winner of the Exceptional Women in New South Wales Mining award for 2021.
Coal women shine in NSW mining industry Coal women shine in NSW mining industry Coal women shine in NSW mining industry Coal women shine in NSW mining industry Coal women shine in NSW mining industry

The award winners highlight the opportunities for women in mining, and showcase the career paths available to women in the sector.

Lee was recognised for her career achievements and for shattering misconceptions about the roles women could undertake in the mining industry along the way as part of the 2021 NSW Minerals Council Women in Mining Awards.

She was the first woman in Illawarra Coal's 53-year history to take on the statutory role of shift undermanager in 2015.

Four years later, she became one of the first two women in NSW to hold a practising certificate as an underground coal mining engineering manager.

Lee is also the first woman to be appointed to a non-administrative role at NSW Mines Rescue.

NSW minister for mental health, regional youth and women Bronnie Taylor said the awards were a way of highlighting the efforts and achievements of women in mining.

"Shining a light on these incredible role models also shows young women and girls that there is so much potential for them in this industry," she said.

Other winners included BHP's Phoebe Thomas who led the company's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Hunter Valley in 2020 and had been awarded NSW Exceptional Young Woman in Mining.

Innovation and technology in mining has been highlighted by the achievements of Nautitech Mining Systems owner and managing director Aga Blana, who has been awarded for developing the first controllable intrinsically safe light for underground coal mining.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said women were playing key roles in the NSW mining industry.

"From technology and innovation to engineering and trades, as well as women in operational roles and running businesses, our award winners highlight the opportunities for women in mining, and showcase the career paths available to women in our sector," he said.

"These women have achieved so much in their careers. And they've demonstrated in their own efforts a commitment to diversity, encouraging women to enter the mining industry, driving company policies that promote women's employment, and mentoring others to help develop the next generation in a more inclusive sector."

The winners in six award categories will be entered into the Women in Resources National Awards.