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Goonyella Riverside mine superintendent Rebecca Cox. Image: BHP.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has created 44 new production and maintenance supervisor roles for women and Indigenous Australians in a push to train more leaders from diverse backgrounds.

The recruitment drive will equip people with limited knowledge of mining with leadership skills to inspire BMA’s coal operations teams in Queensland.

They will complete an 18-month leadership development program where they will start out shadowing established leaders before branching out and entering leadership roles themselves.

BMA recognised a gap in female and Aboriginal leaders and launched the program to diversify its workforce.

The company’s research has shown that its most inclusive and diverse teams have achieved 67 per cent fewer recordable injuries, 28 per cent lower unplanned absence rates and up to 11 per cent higher planned and scheduled work delivery.

The only female execution superintendent at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside coal mine, Rebecca Cox, said she had encountered very few other women in leadership roles in her 10-year career with the company.

Cox manages four supervisors who oversee 65 employees and contractors to maintain dozers, service trucks, graders and front-end loaders.

She welcomed the program to instil greater diversity across BMA’s operations, which have given her the flexibility to adapt her working hours so she can balance work with family obligations.

“I was the only female in the ancillary department a year ago and now there are six females and people from different cultures and races,” Cox said.

“When we have more inclusive and diverse teams, our achievements are endless because people from different backgrounds and experiences offer a fresh perspective and different approach to solving problems, we are not confined by one way of thinking.”

Another BMA leader is Gavin Sandilands, who manages production operations at the Broadmeadow mine and has clocked 16 years with BHP.

“I believe my proven hard work and dedication to my field of work has enabled me to secure the supervisory positions,” he said, crediting his Indigenous mother and coal miner father for raising him with the values of self-believe and determination to succeed in his career.

“Companies need the best and most experienced people available for roles to ensure work is carried out accordingly to ensure safety of the mine and others.”