For a lot of regional towns in Australia, the gold mining industry is the economic backbone contributing through jobs, livelihoods and security. But they are also an important part of the community.
For Liz Jones, her employment in the gold mining industry as the recently appointed General Manager of Ramelius Resources’ Mt Magnet operation in Western Australia, also comes with a focus on helping the local community.
Ms Jones began her career in the mining industry in 1995 as an engineer and has spent the bulk of her 22 working years in gold.
For the last two years, she has managed Ramelius’ open pit and underground operations at Mount Magnet, where a lot of her work includes engaging with the local community.
“The most enjoyment I’ve got out of the role is watching how people develop and what we can do to help young professionals move into more skilled roles,” Ms Jones said.
“Professional development is a day to day focus, looking at how we can create a succession plan, and how we can develop the people that have put the hard yards in on site.”
Ms Jones said she was also involved in a women’s group in town that worked together to book functions that brought women together.
She also works with unemployed indigenous people in the area and engages with them through an organisation called Yulella to help grow employment in the local community.
“Our contractors have been really quick to embrace it. We have local employees starting with a catering contractor, and we’re working on a traineeship system in the mill so we can take some trainees there as well,” she said.
Ms Jones said she has seen the gold industry provide some outstanding opportunities for people, including herself.
“I grew up on a farm just south of Geraldton, and when I first went to Kalgoorlie to study at university, youth unemployment was up at about 30 per cent, so mining has provided me with very stable employment,” she said.
“I’ve also been to some very interesting places, and while those like Mount Magnet and Kalgoorlie may not be high on many peoples’ hit lists, they are very interesting, fun and community focused places to live.”