Rachel Cameron, a Liebherr R 9800 operator, was recently honored by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME). At the Women in Resources Awards breakfast coinciding with International Women’s Day, Ms. Cameron of Downer Edi Mining was recognized for her achievements along with a select group of women in energy, engineering, and petroleum industries.
For her skill and her commitment to the mining industry, Ms. Cameron was named as a finalist out of 91 entries in the Outstanding Technician/Operator/Trade Woman category. Ms. Cameron, a young woman indigenous to Western Australia, has become a role model and advocate for the industry.
“I think it is very important to highlight the achievements of women in the resources sector,” Ms. Cameron said in a recent interview, “because this is a perfect way of encouraging women to join the industry.”
Mining is in Rachel’s blood, as her father, two brothers, and younger sister all work at mine sites. She started at the age of 17 as an IT trainee at a mine in Lawn Hill (Queensland), and when the opportunity came up to operate one of the biggest hydraulic excavators in the world, Ms. Cameron jumped at it. Since June 2011 she has been operating the 800-t (882 ton) Liebherr R 9800 at the Downer Edi Christmas Creek mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Driven by two powerful MTU diesel engines that offer a combined output of 2.982 kW (4,000 HP), the R 9800 provides rapid loading cycles as low as 28 seconds. The R 9800 boasts a bucket capacity of 42 m³ (54.9 yd3) that can load 227 t trucks in only three passes.
Over her career Ms. Cameron has seen a shift in operator demographics. “When I first started mining 13 years ago it was very much a male-dominated industry, but I have seen a definite change. The sky is the limit for what women can do in the industry now.”