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Women In Mining

The annual NSW Women in Mining Awards were held in Sydney at the end of March. We caught up with the winners to learn about the challenges they’ve overcome and what they think still needs to change for women in the mining industry.


Keryn is the Senior Manager of Investor Relations at Whitehaven Coal. She has held multiple roles at Whitehaven including leading export contract negotiations and she was the first female marketer. Keryn also actively mentors’ women in finance and commercial logistics.

“Growing up in the Hunter Valley coalfields, I valued the contribution that mining made in my region, but I didn’t initially appreciate the wide range of opportunities it could bring. I started my mining career as an accountant at Peabody and have not looked back since. Working in male dominated roles has required me to double down on what I believe in and speak up to be included. I have had to prove myself and defend my views in competitive environments. This is not always enjoyable, but it has taught me resilience and strength that I have been able to utilise throughout my career. It is important for senior females and males to continue to be positive role models and create opportunities for others to have a fulfilling career in mining, no matter what role they are doing. The industry is taking great strides in improving diversity and inclusion, which we need to continue to progress.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM Keryn Zambroski 1


Hannah overcame a serious motorcycle accident during her apprenticeship and went on to win the Outstanding Trade, Operator or Technician award at the 2021 NSW Women In Mining Awards. She was also the first female tradesperson to complete the 40-year-old Kings Engineering Apprenticeship Program. In 2021, Hannah started her own business, HER Engineering, Machining and Maintenance.

“The main challenge I faced as a woman in the industry back in 2010 was securing an apprenticeship. I had to acquire additional training and skills through night courses at TAFE after school to be viewed as a potential candidate. However, overcoming this hurdle, along with other challenges I’ve encountered throughout my career, has shaped me into the skilled tradesperson I am today. Since starting my apprenticeship, I’ve seen significant positive changes in the mining industry for women and it’s amazing to see. However, one area where I believe there’s still room for improvement is mental health awareness. I encourage everyone, regardless of gender, to recognise that it’s okay to speak up and seek support. Confidence is key and it is gold. Be confident in yourself and if you want something, go for it, or put in the effort to achieve it. Don’t give up on yourself, make sure you’re ready and sure it’s worth your time. Depend on yourself, not others. The world is your oyster.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM Hannah Berthold 2


Damien Butler, the Corporate Communications and Community Relations Manager at The Bloomfield Group and he won the award for his commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion and promoting a more diverse workforce. Damien is the co-leader of the WIMnet NSW Hunter Valley Subcommittee.

“The meaningful change we have begun would not have been possible without the guidance and support of our Board, the members of our Diversity and Inclusion Forum, and the unwavering dedication of my colleagues, including Renata Roberts and Larissa Weir. My hope is that this recognition inspires other male champions to recognise the value that diversity and inclusion brings to an organisation.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM Damien Butler 3


Karin is the Principal Consultant with the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and is the technical lead on a project for Australia Strategic Metals to develop novel solvent extraction technology to separate rare earth elements found at its Dubbo project.

“I love my job and I love to solve problems and if that can help somebody, even better. I’ve been in this game for a very long time. I always wanted to do science, but then I was offered a scholarship to a different country to study chemistry and science and then I started working in mining and I’ve been here ever since. If I could change something for women in the industry it would be giving them more exposure to exciting projects that represent the future and are technologically advanced.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM Karin Soldenhoff 4


Nadine is the Open Pit Supervisor at Evolution Mining’s Cowal Gold Operations. Nadine started her working life as a florist and transitioned to mining in 2007 as a Haul Truck Operator. She quickly advanced through several roles and in 2019 became the Open Pit Supervisor – the only woman to hold this position at the time.

“Mining was a huge career shift, I enjoyed the flexible roster, the good wage and ever challenging opportunities to learn to operate various heavy machinery. 17 years ago, I was one of only five female operators. I fought hard to earn the respect of my male colleagues and when I had won that fight, I had to fight hard again to show that I could be a mother and hold a leadership position. Attitudes towards women in the mining sector have improved over the years, but we still have a long way to go. My hope for all the women entering the industry now is that they don’t have to fight as hard as we did.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM Nadine Heal 5


Theiss took out the award this year for their MASITE Program launched at Mt Arthur in 2021. The Mt Arthur South (MAS) program targets new-to-industry indigenous and/or female candidates to better enable the development of new workers from within the local community and encourage more Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, and women to work in the mining industry. Mt Arthur Production Manager John Hamson accepted the award.

“This is something we dreamt up two years ago on a whiteboard and it has exceeded everything we expected it to do. We developed the MASITE program to help attract more women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons from our local communities to our workforce, but it’s had such a positive impact on the culture at Mt Arthur South. Participants in the MASITE program have access to a world-class training hub, with fully immersive simulators, support from peers and mentors, and a warm and welcoming environment.”

ATCF 6 7 WIM John Hamson Theiss 6

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