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Mining health and safety GM wins exceptional woman in resources gong

Maryann Wipaki
Glencore health, safety, environment and community GM Maryann Wipaki

A Mount Isa resources boss has been commended for keeping more than 4700 mine workers safe across the nation.

Maryann Wipaki recently won the exceptional woman in resources category of the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC’s) 2021 Resources Awards for Women.

The general manager of health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) has spent more than nine years working for Glencore Metals. She started out as a HSEC manager for North Queensland before moving up to the top job in 2017.

‘Respect is earnt’

As the only female among 10 senior leaders at Glencore Metals’ Australian operations, Wipaki revealed her success began with treating others as she would like to be treated.

“Working in mining you had to harness respect and I knew that respect was earnt,” she said in a video shared on Flickr.

“Having come from [Cloncurry in] the country, it was something that we were born and raised with.”

Half of staff is female

She has also played a key role in QRC’s Women in Mining Resources Queensland, and helped established the initiative’s North Queensland chapter.

“[I actively] encourage and support our girls for mining program internally,” she can be heard saying.

“I can say with pride that 50 per cent of my team are female, [and] 47 per cent of those actually make up senior roles in our team; … my commitment to that is to make sure the professional development opportunities are there for our team members.”

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She is also not afraid of rolling up her sleeves and familiarising herself with the production side of the business.

“I spent time out in the field with my colleagues and learnt how to operate equipment, learnt the challenges of the environment that we were working in,” she said.

“Whether that be the processing areas or underground, it is really important. It gives you a sense of understanding and respect for the workforce it does and a need as well to understand that when we are developing processes and systems in future.”