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More diverse workforces are helping resource companies achieve superior performance, safety and stable production, says BHP Billiton’s Human Resource President, Mike Fraser.

Mr Fraser delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Women in Resources Awards (WIRNA) in Brisbane today, with the national awards program building on the state-based Resources Council awards, celebrating the achievements of women, men and companies who make outstanding contributions to the industry.

BHP Billiton boasted four finalists at the Awards, with Laura Tyler, Asset President, Cannington winning the ‘Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources.’

Mr Fraser spoke about the important business benefit that comes from diversity and inclusion.

“Diversity and inclusion make good business sense,” Mr Fraser said.

 “We have found that where our workplaces are more inclusive and collaborative, we achieve superior performance results.  Safety results are better, production is more stable, employee engagement is higher and turnover is lower.”

Importantly, Mr Fraser said diversity was not just about gender, but includes different aspects of individual uniqueness including thought, experience, age, disability, nationality, ethnicity, orientation, gender and perspective.

Mr Fraser went on to say that BHP Billiton has implemented a number of diversity initiatives to help drive performance.

“We are addressing the historical gender imbalance we have seen in our industry by having a particular emphasis on increasing female representation in key operational roles,” Mr Fraser said.

“For example, in Queensland, our Daunia and Caval Ridge operations are proving that with a strong commitment, the gender diversity gap in the resources industry can be narrowed.

“From the start of development of these projects seven years ago, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) committed to create a diverse workforce at Daunia and Caval Ridge with at least 30 per cent female and 5 per cent Indigenous employees.

“The operations offered training for female employees new to the industry and interested in taking on more responsibility. We are now on track to achieve this goal by 2015 with female employees now making up 25 per cent at Daunia and 20 per cent at Caval Ridge.”

Mr Fraser also congratulated the finalists and winners of the WIRNA Awards and said that BHP Billiton was very pleased to have four finalists nominated: 

  • Lucas Dow, Asset President, BMA for the ‘Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance’ category,
  • Laura Tyler, Asset President, Cannington for ‘Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources’,
  • Jo Barron-Perry, Senior Mining Engineer, Olympic Dam for ‘Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources’ category and
  • Emma Stevenson, Electrical Instrument Technician, Nickel West for ‘Outstanding Australian Tradeswoman/ Operator/ Technician category.

“I would like to congratulate all the finalists, including the BHP Billiton finalists and winner Laura Tyler from Cannington.  Participation in these awards will go a long way to raising awareness about the important role that diversity plays in our business and the resources sector generally.”

For more information, please read the Speech or see the News Release.

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