Captivated by the industry’s potential – meet Izabel Dickinson
‘I love the concept that I get to work first hand with resources that have been developing over millions of years and then get to see the final products in beautiful homes, jewellery, cars and so much more.’
Izabel Dickinson grew up on a property inland from Mackay, what used to be a small mining and agricultural town on the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Surrounded by a family of miners which goes back for generations, Izabel originally had her sights set on being a pilot. However, the draw of the resources industry won her over.
‘My family has been in mining for as far back as we can track,’ says Izabel. ‘I love the concept that I get to work first hand with resources that have been developing over millions of years and then get to see the final products in beautiful homes, jewellery, cars and so much more.’
After graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in Mining Engineering in 2014, Izabel joined the graduate program and is now working at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Goonyella Riverside Mine.
Over the past eight months Izabel has worn a number of different hats, including working on the efficiency of coal mining processes, coal planning, operations planning and redesigning coal mining go lines across site. The variety of work has allowed her to draw on the different experiences and work methods of her colleagues while learning the fundamentals of being a mining engineer.
However, she concedes the role has also had its challenges, especially initially.
‘When I arrived, the site had recently gone through a major simplification and the majority of people had changed roles to some extent,’ Izabel explains.
‘Admittedly, my initial thought was “how am I going to keep up?”, but looking back it is clear to see that the mine is making all the changes it can to keep us ahead of the game.’
A highlight for Izabel has been involvement in a week away with other BHP Billiton graduates at a leading executive business school, where participants worked on self-awareness and personal development. The enabled her to interact with and learn from some of our leaders. Izabel says she was ‘blown away’ by their commitment to the Company’s development and future.
Like many who grew up in a small town, Izabel always had a burning desire to explore what else the world has to offer. In these pursuits, she says she tries to follow advice handed down to her from her Great Nana, who she describes as her role model. At 14, she travelled to Scotland to compete in the Irish Dancing World Championships. ‘I’m going to cop some flak at work for that!’ she jokes. Since then, she has also made her way to Africa, the United States, Canada, Japan, Dubai and Europe. More recently, her role at Goonyella Riverside Mine has given her the chance to explore the beautiful sights of Central Queensland and the Whitsundays - now at her doorstep.
In these pursuits, Izabel says she tries to follow advice handed down to her from her Great Nana, who she describes as her role model.
‘My Great Nana always knew what she wanted and how she would get there. She encouraged me to go after what I want by reminding me that, at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness. And she lived to 100 so I think she knew what she was talking about!’
This passion for experiencing new people and places doesn’t just drive Izabel’s current decisions, it also factors into her future planning and goal-setting.
‘In 10 years’ time I would hope I have tried out at least one other commodity, worked overseas and developed myself into a managerial position,’ Izabel says.
One of the broadest risks Izabel has identified for the future of the resources industry is the cynicism and misinformation circulating in the Australian community.
‘If I were CEO for a day I would like to kick start a campaign to generate greater support for the resources industry by educating the Australian public on the benefits of mining for our country, both materially and economically.’
‘There is so much negativity and so many myths floating around, but people believe it because there is no one telling them otherwise.’