Beginning her career in the mining industry as a 19-year- old haul truck operator with no formal qualifications, Jodi Moffitt’s impressive work ethic was underscored when she took out the Excellence in Mining gong at the Women in Industry Awards in June for her leadership and commitment in her current Operations Planning Manager role at Roy Hill.

 Acknowledging the role the industry had played in supporting her to reach her goals, Mrs Moffitt said there were many female operators amongst the production teams when she first joined the field, including trainers, truck operators and mine dispatchers, who had opened her eyes to the possibilities that lay before her. 

“Early in my career it was clear to me there was plenty of opportunity to learn and progress in mining,” she said. 

“I feel very proud to have come into this industry at age?19 without any formal qualifications and progress to Managing Operations Planning at Roy Hill by the age of 30. 

“My story and career journey has only been made possible through a strong and prosperous mining industry.” 

Working in roles such as grade control, short-term planning, drill and blast engineering and mine planning for some of the world’s biggest miners, Mrs Moffitt’s career trajectory has taken many twists and turns. 

It was in the midst of her stint as a short-term planning engineer for Rio Tinto Coal that she had her first child, rejoining the workforce part-time four months after the birth. The arrival of her second child two years later proved a catalyst for further change. 

“After the birth of my second child when I was 25, I left part-time work and began studying my Master of Mining Engineering by correspondence,” Mrs Moffitt said. 

“Six years later in 2013, I achieved my Master of Mining. I count raising two young children while completing my Masters degree as one of my biggest accomplishments. 

“It can be challenging juggling family life with the demands of my job – I have two young children and a y-in, y-out husband – but as a result I’ve learnt to optimise my time to maximise results.” 

This has no doubt proven a helpful skill for Mrs Moffitt, who counts playing a key role in getting Roy Hill’s Remote Operations Centre (ROC) off the ground as a source of pride. 

Leading the creation of the centre’s remote-control function, Mrs Moffitt built a team of 44 people to oversee 24/7 control of the operation’s mining fleet, crushing circuit, wet process plant, train loadout and port operations. 

“To have played a pivotal role in setting up the ROC at Roy Hill, which has set new standards for the resources industry, has been a really satisfying feat,” she said. 

“Now there are five remote control centres operating in Australia, including Roy Hill’s, and I’m proud to have played a part in the industry embracing these new technologies, which enable us to do our jobs more safely, productively and efficiently.” 

An opportunity at the crossroads 

Though Mrs Moffitt said she had faced few challenges as?a woman in the industry, one arose when she returned from maternity leave and accepted a full-time fly-in, fly-out role out of Brisbane as a scheduling engineer for another company. 

This role saw Mrs Moffitt deliver mine plans weekly, build trusting relationships with operational crews, chair meetings and provide a voice for the operation. 

“One of the mining superintendents openly objected to me being in this role,” she said. “He would undermine my authority in meetings, talk behind my back and not execute the plans we had put in place. It was evident he felt threatened when supervisors would come to me for guidance. 

“It made for an uncomfortable working environment, however, I followed the company’s processes and escalated my concerns while maintaining a positive attitude and staying true to my convictions, standards and morals. 

“Through this experience I learnt to surround myself with like-minded people, remain confident in my abilities and focus on the job at hand.” 

Eventually leaving this role to begin her time with Roy Hill in 2014, Mrs Moffitt soon decided to further her experience as a leader. 

“It’s very important to me to be a good role model for my kids and the young people around me,” she said. “It’s equally important knowing I have pushed myself to be the best I can be. 

“In 2016 I made the decision to commit to a leadership path as my new goal. Heartfelt leadership is a fundamental belief of mine, and getting the best out of people so they realise their full potential is my measure of success. 

“While at Roy Hill I have had the opportunity to mentor and inspire young, intelligent women to further themselves within the resources industry.” 

In addition to her duties at Roy Hill, Mrs Moffitt volunteers as a mentor for the Career Mentor Link and Women in Engineering program at The University of Western Australia. 

“I think it’s important to guide and inspire young people to set goals and work hard towards these so they can succeed in their chosen career pathway,” she said. 

Mutual admiration 

Examining the comments of those Mrs Moffitt works for, it’s easy to see the impact she has had in her field. 

Following Mrs Moffitt’s win at the Women in Industry Awards, Roy Hill Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart said, “I’m so very excited for Jodi to win this award, and delighted with her many achievements – this award is a tribute to her work ethic and commitment, and her contribution and growth, which many of us know of at Roy Hill. 

“The mining industry needs champions like Jodi. It is an exciting industry, and all those who work in it contribute hugely to our country. I hope Jodi will always be proud of her outstanding work at Roy Hill, indeed proud too of the industry she has chosen, and I wish Jodi every success in the future.” 

Roy Hill CEO Barry Fitzgerald echoed this sentiment. 

“My warm congratulations to Jodi on winning this award,” he said. “She is a very worthy recipient. 

“Jodi’s ability to question the status quo and embrace change while leading a team has seen her achieve great things at Roy Hill. She is another fabulous role model for all in our mining industry.” 

On the other side of the coin, Mrs Moffitt said Mrs Rinehart and her team had had a strong influence on her ambition and drive. 

“Mrs Rinehart’s work ethic and commitment are echoed amongst the Roy Hill leadership team,” she said. 

“Their support and the can-do attitude that’s embraced by all who work at Roy Hill has been instrumental to my success. 

“I look forward to continuing to lead my fantastic team of engineers at Roy Hill and continuing to build on my own technical expertise to lead the team by example, as I believe that’s what earns the most respect. 

“I see the industry as one at the cutting edge of technology, where smart mining is creating the jobs of tomorrow that are safer, more productive and sustainable. It’s an exciting industry that offers career opportunities at every level – why wouldn’t a woman want to be part of it?” 

 

Image: Roy Hill Operations Planning Manager Jodi Moffitt, supplied.