Glencore executive Nicole Brook named "Exceptional Woman in Mining" at NSW Mineral Council's Women In Mining awards

Posted: 27th Mar

Opportunity: "Mining offers endless opportunity for a deeply rewarding career and financial independence, regardless of gender," says Glencore executive Nicole Brook.
 Opportunity: "Mining offers endless opportunity for a deeply rewarding career and financial independence, regardless of gender," says Glencore executive Nicole Brook.
 

 Where were you raised and was there anything that guided you into your current industry?

I was born and raised in Hobart, a million miles away from my current industry!  Mining wasn’t in my family at all, so it came as a bit of a shock when I announced that was what I wanted to do

 You did a Bachelor’s Degree in mining, graduation as a mining engineer. Why did you choose that path?

Like many young people headed off to higher education, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do.  Engineering appealed as I loved solving puzzles and finding better ways to do things.  I started a general engineering degree, and through that found out about mining, which combines all areas of engineering and presented complex issues for me to sink my teeth into.

  What appealed to you about mining?

Mining is a great mix of theory and practice.  You’re not in an office all day - you’re out in the field, seeing designs come to life, seeing real time issues and working to solve them.  You get to interact with a diverse group of people and you learn something new every day.

 How and why did you make the leap from the engineering side of mining to business development?

Early in my career the mine that I was working at nearly went broke. After seeing the impact that had on the company and people working there, I decided that I wanted to go beyond engineering to understand the value drivers in the business and be a part of creating opportunities in the industry.  I completed studies in finance, and when a business development role came up, I took it!

Early in my career the mine that I was working at nearly went broke. After seeing the impact that had on the company and people working there, I decided that I wanted to go beyond engineering to understand the value drivers in the business and be a part of creating opportunities in the industry.

Nicole Brook

 You’re currently general manager, business development and technical services for Glencore in Australia. Can you give us a basic idea of what your role entails?

I lead a group of about 50 technical and commercial professionals across Australia.  On the business development side we look for ways to add value to the business - this might be developing new mines, extending existing mines or identifying opportunities for acquisitions and mergers. In technical services we provide support and expert guidance to our operating sites.  Its incredibly diverse and challenging, I love it.

 What is a current project that is demanding your time?

We have a number of mine extension projects in study phase at the moment.  These are fantastic opportunities to continue the benefits of mining in areas where mining is already established.

 You are responsible for driving ‘technical optimisation’ and managing risk at Glencore sites. Can you give us an example of the former?

It’s about making sure that we understand the environment that we are mining in and designing the mine for optimal and safe extraction of the resource.  For example, at one operation we were able to redesign the mining process to deliver greater efficiencies and strengthen the economic future of the mine, without new technology or capital investment.

 What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

I think anyone who has studied, whilst working full time and raising a family will agree that juggling all three is challenging on all fronts!  I have done that a couple of times, but the reward has been more than worth it.

 And, to date, the most rewarding part?

Seeing people, men and women, that I have coached and mentored excelling in their careers.

  You’ve just been named as the most Outstanding Woman in NSW Mining at the NSW Women In Mining Awards.  Were your surprised?

Completely!  Every year these awards showcase the amazing depth and breadth of talent in our industry and I was deeply honoured to be chosen from a cohort of amazing women.

  What would be your advice to women seeking to enter the male-dominated mining industry?

Go for it!  Speak to other women in the industry, there are excellent networks available.  The industry offers endless opportunity for a deeply rewarding career and financial independence, regardless of gender.

 What traits have enabled you to excel?

Determination, a love of learning and a desire to bring out the best in people.

  Are you encouraging other younger women through the ranks?

I’m very proud to say that women represent 46 per cent of my team.  I’m keen to make sure that continues through sponsorship of programs such as HunterWiSE, which encourages young girls to take up a career in STEM, and by being a mentor in the Women in Mining Network mentoring program.  This program, now in its fourth year, matches young women in the industry with a male or female leader to help them navigate their early career.

 

MARCH 26 2018 

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5297587/meet-the-mining-executive-who-is-proud-that-almost-half-her-team-are-women/