The Parkes Shire boasts two finalists in upcoming NSW Mining Awards - Ellie Hawkins and Justine Fisher.
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Ellie, a Scheduling Engineer at CMOC-Northparkes Mines, has been named a finalist at the NSW Mining Industry and Suppliers Awards in the Young Achiever of the Year category.
While Justine's contribution to the mining industry is being recognised by the NSW Women in Mining Awards, as a finalist for the Exceptional Woman Award.
Justine is a corporate affairs professional who has dedicated much of her career to mining, her current role with Clean TeQ as General Manager Government, External Relations and Community, based in Parkes.
She's also worked in the coal industry with Glencore as Corporate Affairs Manager for their coal business (Xstrata Coal) and managed her own communications company - Rhubarb Communications.
Her career got underway in London with her first role in the mining industry managing investor relations for a Namibian alluvial diamond mining company.
It seemed Justine was destined to join the industry, with her father working in mining and her living in mining towns in Tasmania, Botswana, Zambia and PNG.
She's lived in Central West NSW since 2011, with a career highlight being at CMOC-Northparkes Mines managing its community and external relations.
Throughout her mining career Justine has been involved with the NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) - her commitment and value to the industry recognised with her appointment to the NSWMC Board as a Non-Executive Director in 2019.
Justine is committed to increasing gender diversity in the industry and has been a Women in Mining mentor since the program's inception in 2015.
She's mentored five women over this time, all of whom worked in the coal sector. While at Northparkes, Justine hosted Woman in Industry panel events to profile industry leaders to the Central West community and encourage discussions about careers, diversity and inclusion.
Justine attended the 2019 Bush Summit held in Dubbo last year, which saw her invited to join the Rural Advisory Panel which was established as a result of the event.
This panel will provide advice to governments (from people on the ground in the bush - not the city) about issues people are facing in the bush. The Advisory Panel will report to the Minister for Regional Development and the newly established House Select Committee.
For Ellie, she started her career at Northparkes Mines in 2017 as a Graduate Mining Engineer.
It was the transition, she said, that a "country kid" needed after four years in Wollongong, allowing her to pursue her profession in the bush.
"In my first year, I completed time working underground on crew, as the only female member," Ellie said.
"This practical learning component of my program provided me with the confidence to commence a business case into wireless blasting technology and the practical component for the NSW Mining Engineering Manager competency."
Within her first 12 months at Northparkes, Ellie transitioned from being a Graduate Mining Engineer to a Drill and Blast Engineer with a concurrent role as Project Team Leader for the Wireless Detonation Trial.
"This was an extremely challenging role but very rewarding, with the successful trial and full implementation achieved within one year of commencement," Ellie said.
Ellie was promoted to Scheduling Engineer in mid-2019.
"While working full time at Northparkes, I am also completing a Master of Research at the University Wollongong on the blast optimisation of the drill and blast practices of the E26 Sub Level Cave (SLC) at Northparkes," she said.
She's also an active member of the Northparkes Emergency Response Team (ERT).
"I am a trained responder with skills ranging from road crash rescue, compartment fire and underground search and rescue," Ellie said.
In 2019, Ellie competed with the Northparkes ERT competition team at the Victorian Mine Rescue Competition, where the team was announced as the overall winners of the event.
And she has big plans for the future.
"I plan to continue being innovative by implementing technological improvements. The continuation of innovation in mining will retain the industry's importance in the world," she said.
Northparkes Managing Director Hubert Lehman has congratulated Ellie on her nomination.
"We are extremely proud of you and we wish you all the best," he said.
The winners in both awards will be announced at a dinner and ceremony at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Thursday, April 2.
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