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Australian Mining Company Now Led by Two Women

In Dust Control, EK35®, Mine & Quarry by Jim Silva

A major Australian mining company made a significant step towards gender equality in the industry with the appointments.

New Year’s 2018 brought more than resolutions to the mining industry. On January 1, the Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group made real change happen by appointing Elizabeth Gaines and Julie Shuttleworth as CEO and deputy CEO, making them the first women to lead the company in its history.

A Bold New Direction

Gaines and Shuttleworth had previously worked inside the organization before being promoted from within. The former CEO of marketing engagement platform HelloWorld, Gaines had served as a non-executive director with Fortescue since 2013 and as the company’s CFO since February. Shuttleworth had served as general manager of the company’s Solomon operations hub.

Although they’re seasoned members of the team, Gaines and Shuttleworth plan to pursue a new style of leadership at the helm. “Elizabeth will lead an organisation where every person seeks advice from their immediate principal as opposed to industry accepted management method of upwards unilateral authority,” Chairman Andrew Forrest said in a public statement announcing their promotions.

Leading the Charge Towards Equality

Appointing multiple women to fill major leadership roles at any company represents a significant step forward for the mining industry — like in many other sectors, mining is overwhelmingly populated by men.

And this is nothing new: women working in this business have long found it challenging to prove their mettle to male colleagues. In an interview with, a mine manager in South Africa — one of the few countries that offers incentives for women miners — noted that she and her female coworkers have always had to go above and beyond to prove their abilities to her male coworkers, whose competence is typically taken for granted from the start. In light of these challenges, the appointment of Gaines and Shuttleworth as Fortescue’s CEO and deputy CEO marks considerable progress for the industry at large.

Keeping Mines Safe and Productive

Regardless of who’s in charge, any mining company will struggle to maintain efficiency across its day-to-day operations if they don’t have an effective plan in place to control dust on worksites and access roads.

With decades of experience in the dust control business, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has the necessary expertise to develop a custom application program built with proven, patented products that can reduce harmful emissions at any mine. We believe this turnkey approach to tackling the problem of fugitive dust can help any company in the industry achieve its business objectives.

When applied correctly, our patented synthetic organic dust control product EK35® settles into the surface and binds particulate matter together to capture dust as soon as it’s generated, improving the quality of the air while structurally reinforcing essential haul and access roads.

Regardless of your mining company’s dust control needs and operational challenges, we can work with you to develop a custom-tailored managed service program specifically suited to your worksite.

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.