Meet Maura, mining administration guru based in Perth

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Maura fell into mining and absolutely loves it - she's never bored and constantly challenged by new elements of her work as a mining administration guru. Her husband's in mining too, working as a FIFO consultant out of their home city of Perth. Here Maura tells us all about it…

How did you first get involved in mining? I just fell into it! I have always been fascinated by mining – the sheer scale, the red dust, the colossal machinery, the vivid colours of orange, yellow and sky blue…  Before mining my specialities were graphic design, data analysis and report writing. One day I was asked to do a quick job as a favour for someone in the industry. It was a simple one-page report, but it led to requests for other reports and presentations and before I knew it I was working and specialising in mining. There was a lot to learn and I still learn things every day. From the outside it looks like a crude Mad Max type set-up but in reality it is highly technical and disciplined.

Are you residential or FIFO? Residential

Did you need to study anything in particular to get the job? No formal qualifications are needed in my line of work although I have a BA in English and graphic design qualifications and you need to have a good understanding of mining practices.

Have you done any additional courses as part of your work? I have to keep my Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Design knowledge sharp and current. I have to research all aspects of mine planning and report writing in mining. I basically read everything I can get my hands on!

Why does the industry work for you? I’m never bored. I am constantly learning new things.

What do you love/hate about it? My husband is a FIFO mining consultant and it can be very challenging coping with a part-time husband. Recently we watched Up in the Air and that says an awful lot about the type of life he lives. Of course it can also be liberating too. I get the remote control, I get to do what I want, when I want… So it is a love/hate thing.

Does your gender affect the way you’re treated in the industry? I don’t believe so. Although it is not acceptable to say so, I believe there are many jobs in the mining industry for which women seem to be preferred. I believe that if you have the qualifications and the skills required you will be in high demand irrespective of your gender.  

It's estimated that women account for less than 20 per cent of Australia's mining workforce, compared with around 40 per cent of the workforce in general. But considering mining is generally thought of as a pretty 'blokey' kind of industry, that's not such a bad figure.

In our 'women in mining' section, MiningFM aims is to celebrate women at coalface. We'd love to hear your story: how you entered the industry, why it works for you and any advice you can offer to other women keen to be a part of Australia's booming mining industry. Tell us about it...

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