From machine operator to CEO, Dauareb Wuthathi woman Florence Drummond has found global recognition listed in this year’s Women in Mining UK’s 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining.

The biennial publication is dedicated to highlighting the wealth of female talent in the mining industry and identifying role models for future generations.

Drummond described the listing as surreal.

“It’s more than anything demonstrating that Indigenous women can be at that global level,” she said.

“I really love the cause; I can see the purpose of it, and I live and breathe it every day.”

Drummond is the Co-Founder and CEO of Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia (IWIMRA). In her role she works to elevate and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the resources industry.

“There are so many women in this space that we need to keep showing up for. Especially when we think about the things that are coming out of state relations with industry and community. I think this is a big part of that that hasn’t really been realised before,” she said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women bring huge value to their mining roles, including Indigenous perspectives.

“Those informed decisions that we haven’t had in industry, people being in those decision-making roles sharing their cultural perspective, and their lived experience,” she said.

“Better decisions could be made much earlier than they are now, we’re all responsive now. But we should have been proactive as an industry in general—and having Indigenous people in decision-making roles would have helped that.”

Since developing IWIMRA, the organisation has worked to support Indigenous women into these decision-making roles. Now, the aim is to ensure those roles are retained and supported.

“With the whole gender parity push I think that is the main thing because it is helping people in industry understand different concepts of how you create a productive workforce, and how you create a workforce of value. And having women present, people are now okay with,” she said.

“We’re just really making sure that the Indigenous aspect doesn’t get lost in that very important conversation. We’re still showing up to make sure that we are also adding our perspectives to the conversation.”

Beginning her career in a mining operator role, Drummond has left her role within industry to commit full-time to IWIMRA.

“I had to really believe in myself to walk 100 per cent in that IWIMRA title. It was so scary, I only quit my job about six weeks ago, during a pandemic! But I thought, you know what, why not?” Drummond said.

“Trusting your gut more than anything, just in general and particularly for women, trust yourself and your own superpower!

“We do things so passionately, but we’re always so afraid of judgement and failure. I think taking a risk is amazing.”

Drummond attributes much of her success to her start in the industry.

“I love travelling, and being in the industry enabled me to have that experience and [have] that financial security … I was able to shift my own circumstances,” she said.

“It confirms in my head that anything is possible, and I know that. Every time I feel challenged or vulnerable, I have to stop and think, no you can make this happen.

“I think more than anything it gives me that validation and confidence in myself to know that anything is possible.”

Although her future looks very bright, Drummond knows that whatever comes her way, she always has a place in mining.

“If I should fail … I can go back and jump back on a truck—it’s not the end of the world!”

By Rachael Knowles