Women in Mining premiere | 2023

Mrs Gina Rinehart AO Women in Mining Premiere Speech

Tuesday January 24, 2023

Port Hedland, West Australia

Hello everyone 

And thank you for joining me on this warm Pilbara evening for the inaugural viewing of our own Women in Mining video – sharing  the real  stories of women across our operations and acknowledging their outstanding contributions to mining. 

Some of you may remember, just prior to the launching of our earlier Roy film that  we made for national mining day, I flew to Roy to firstly share with Roy that film, as many  would not have been able to see the Perth premier. So this evening, I wanted to visit to share our latest film with you, prior to its Perth launch on Aussie day. 

There have long been many inspirational women, starting with our pioneering women, who sure had it tough, but they helped to build our nation. As the then Archbishop of Perth, Charles Owen Leaver Riley, said in 1928 of the north west’s pioneer women, quote: “I have often read about Spartan women and of how courageous they were and of determination they had. Well, … I don’t think many women of Sparta could have had the bravery and have made the self-sacrifice that our pioneer women did… [they are] a great example of the triumph of goodness, determination, self-sacrifice and courage over what seemed to be insurmountable difficulties.”

I know something of the first pioneers of the north in West Australia as three members of the Hancock family, John and sisters Fanny and Emma set off in their little wooden boat the “Sea Ripple” and sailed over a thousand miles to the north west where they landed and founded the first port in the Pilbara, Cossack.

Fanny was still only a teenager, Emma had a child and was expecting another, she was 21 when they set off into the remote unknown.

When the Hancocks arrived, they had lost most of their supplies, possessions and stock during the voyage and had to walk about 14 miles inland to find fresh water, founding the first township at what is called Roebourne. No kitchen, bathroom, electricity, plumbing or air conditioning, no home, no shops, no fruit or vegetable garden, no medical facilities, no take out, greeted them, they had to make do for themselves, or do without. No entertainment either, just work to stay alive and provide for their growing family,  day in day out, except on Sunday’s, when they took time off to read the bible together. 

In my view these stories should be passed along to our families, to help put our daily stresses and problems in perspective,  and give inspiration especially to our young, if not by teachers, then by  families. 

Our mothers throughout generations, pushing themselves through little sleep at night, getting up for feeds, and or sick children, and handling the stress  of teenage and adult years! As one north west mother told me, small children small problems, but adult children, much bigger problems! 

There are too many inspirational women to individually mention, but I’m fortunate to have known one over many years, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen, mother and grandmother, wife of farmer and  Queensland’s longest serving premier Sir Joh, and who herself served as a Senator – a dear friend and a terrific example to everyone around her. And in West Australia, our own Dr Pat Kailis, who helped her husband establish our northern fishing and pearling industries, and many of you would remember her visit with me here to christen our first pink locos. 

We all knew of Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth the Second – another remarkable example of duty, dedication, and a strong work ethic, laced throughout with graciousness. 

There are also the incredible women serving our country in our Defence Force, those working in our police, our female doctors and nurses. Women working in the outback, away from city conveniences, but not away from the snakes and crocodiles, let’s all think of those in the Kimberleys right now, losing their homes, their possessions, some their livelihoods, and losing many thousands of their cattle. We’ll be sending another plane load of supplies up in the morning. 

Our female Olympians past and present, including my dear friend Dawn Fraser – named the World’s Greatest Living Female Water sports Champion by the International Olympic Committee.

The early morning training commitments 6 times a week, self discipline, financial sacrifice as they work to represent our country on the world stage, doing Australians proud. Given the size of our population,  they lift well above their weight, fabulous role models.

Women at Roy Hill work at the only mine in the world where technology and operational responsibility join with breast cancer support.

Our world first pink trucks, locomotives, WHIMS plant and other pink mining equipment, fund raising support to breast cancer sufferers, including for our local Solaris centre here in Port Hedland – women, battling a frightening, dreadful disease, often harsh chemotherapies and multiple surgeries and multiple hospital stays, trying their best to live for their family, inspiring and very special women fighting this unfair cruel disease. Those with this disease, or family members, please also research yourselves, I know my very dear goddaughter, Rachel, who has a pink truck named after her, whose background was in fine art, did so much research she knew more than most WA cancer doctors, and travelled the world, Europe, Japan, Mexico, trying techniques not currently on the medical scene here, extending her life, in her efforts to stay alive for her children. Now her daughter, also my wonderful goddaughter, is an honours student, continuing her studies to become a doctor. 

When it comes to female representation in mining, I’m pleased to say, we are higher than the industry standard, with 25% participation. 

Metallurgists, engineers, mechanics, diesel operators, process plant operators, geos, train drivers, rail maintenance, drill and blast crews, and many other roles. We provide development opportunities for women across our operations.

And, we have women in leadership, like Simone – a former nurse, responsible for more than 300 people across the Roy port and rail teams.

I’m incredibly pleased when I hear staff at Roy tell me, we “wouldn’t want to work anywhere else”, or, “Roy is the best mining company I’ve worked for”, or “Roy is the best mining company in Australia”, it’s each of you who help to make this so. And I love to hear that you are proud of our industry and its huge contribution to Australia, we need many delivering this message, be it with doctors, Uber drivers, or wherever you may be. Please do! 

From an early age I have been involved in what was a predominantly male centric industry and when I became chair in 1992, worked with professionals  who doubted the Roy project, recommending we  don’t proceed with Roy. However, I worked to turn a company from one in substantial difficulty  to become the most successful private company in Australia. And one of the most successful private mining companies in the world. Again, this is thanks to you, and your daily efforts and contributions, and I hope you’ll always be proud to be a member of our outstanding company group.

I also hope that my record can be of some inspiration to women to use their inner strength, knowledge, determination and ability, to work hard and drive success in whatever endeavour they choose. Of course thanks to ever increasing government tape, this is getting harder all the time, unfortunately.

I also hope your stories in this fantastic video are an inspiration to show other women, that mining offers many opportunities, including but not only for better financial security. Something especially helpful if medical problems arise or other difficulties, like the rising and rising cost of electricity, and rising interest rates and other cost of living rises. 

At Roy Hill, Atlas and Hancock we are all about building an exceptional future together and building the best mining company in the world.

Now let’s enjoy the Aussie premiere of our film! 

Thank you.