Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet

THE lead innovator of the first electronic tablet device certified for unrestricted use in underground coal mining in Australia, Anglo American’s Larnie Mackay, has been recognised as the winner of the inaugural Technological Innovation Award at the 2020 Women in Resources Awards.
Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet Mackay wins women's award for underground tablet

The lead innovator of the first electronic tablet device certified for unrestricted use in underground coal mining in Australia, Anglo American’s Larnie Mackay.

The tablets, which were rapidly deployed across Anglo American's underground metallurgical coal operations in Queensland last year, have helped launch an era of digitisation for the mining industry.

They capture and share real time safety, production and environmental monitoring information with operators, ensuring critical information is readily available to key personnel and removing the need for paper records.

Mackay, who holds the position of Anglo American underground digital transformation lead, said the company's underground tablets had changed the way personnel worked underground and opened the door for further improvements in digitisation and data analytics to help improve safety and productivity in the company's operations.

 "They've also helped enhance our safety systems by providing underground crews with immediate access to important safety information and enabling video calls to technical experts on the surface when required," she said.

"It has been a culture and technology game changer at our underground mines, and the way it has been embraced by our teams - especially those underground - has been phenomenal.

"I'm proud to have been recognised for a project that has been a passion of mine for a long time, and that I know will have an impact on our industry into the future."

The development of an "intrinsically safe" tablet was a considerable challenge, taking around five years and involving extensive work with mining engineers and manufacturing partners to ensure the product was fit-for-purpose and passed an extensive certification process.

 Based in Moranbah, Mackay has more than 25 years' experience in the mining industry and encouraged young women and men to take advantage of the opportunities available in the sector.

 "There are a wide range of future-focused opportunities available in the mining industry and I encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in technology to consider what our industry can offer," she said.

The awards, hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia in partnership with state-based industry associations, aim to promote the Australian resources sector as an industry of choice for women.

MCA CEO Tania Constable said the winners of the awards announced highlighted the diversity, calibre and skills of people working in Australia's world-leading resources industry.

"These awards celebrate initiatives that create a more diverse, safer, fairer and stronger sector," she said.

"And as ambassadors and role models, the award winners will inspire more women to enter the resources workforce.

"While the number of women participating in the resources sector has improved in past decades, there is still a way to go to lift female participation in the industry."

Other winners from the coal industry include geotechnical engineer at BHP's Peak Downs mine, Kathryn Young, who won the Newcrest Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Award for her impressive technical leadership, mentoring and strong advocacy on gender diversity and The Bloomfield Group chief corporate services officer Renata Roberts. who won the Dyno Nobel Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources Award for extensive examples of her leadership across a number of areas.