Queensland’s first ever all-female Mines Rescue Team has been formed at Anglo American’s Capcoal Open Cut Mine, near Middlemount, and is set to join the state’s competitive Mines Rescue Open Cut Circuit.
Known as the Women of Steel, the team is made up of seven women who are now in training for the QMRS Mines Rescue Challenge later this year.
Team captain and Capcoal Open Cut’s Emergency Response Team Coordinator, Kiri Blanch, says she has been looking to put together an all-female team for some time.
“Our team is a dedicated group of women who really gel together, and we’re proud to be the first Anglo American and Queensland-based all-women team in the Queensland competition,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive, especially our male counterparts. It’s a reflection of the culture at our site that continues to both support mines rescue and empower the women we work with.
“This has inspired our team to commit to the challenge, improve our health and fitness and achieve the best results possible whilst representing women in mining. We will train closely with the Capcoal Open Cut men’s team and support each other during competitions.”
CEO of Anglo American in Australia, Dan van der Westhuizen, said the team had the backing of all their colleagues across the company.
“We’re so pleased to support this outstanding group of women as they get set to make a real mark on Queensland’s mines rescue circuit,” van der Westhuizen said. “Although we still have further to go, it’s a strong example of how our industry and our operations are moving towards achieving equal representation and equality.
“At Anglo American, we have a strong history of supporting our highly competitive mines rescue teams across both our open cut and underground operations, so it’s particularly pleasing that that our Women of Steel are now Queensland’s first all-female team. Our mines rescue teams play a critical role in any incident response or rescue, and these competitions help ensure their skills are well honed, if called upon to undertake a rescue.”
Anglo American operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, and has additional joint venture interests in steel-making coal and manganese, as well as copper exploration projects underway in Queensland and Western Australia.