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Girls from Moranbah State High School had the experience of a lifetime, donning hard hats and safety boots to explore the underground workings for Anglo American’s Moranbah North coal mine.

The 14 girls took part in the tour, organised by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), which coincides with National Science Week.

It’s the first time the QMEA has taken an all-girls group of students underground at a coal mine.

They were accompanied by two school staff for the tour, to give them a hands-on insight into the many career options in the resources sector.

QMEA Ambassador and former Nanango State High School student Sarah Coughlan led the tour. She’s now a graduate engineer at Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine and one of the small percentage of women who work underground in the sector.

“Without the QMEA I would never have imagined a career in this industry and I really want to share with the girls the fantastic opportunities it offers and the interesting career options,” said Sarah.

“I also want to show them how awesome the mining environment can be and dispel the fear of the unknown,” she said.

“I’d really love to see more women come and work in our sector and it’s great to see all the initiatives that have been put in place by resources companies to attract and retain women.

“The tour also gave the girls an insight into just how seriously we take safety and health and our environmental obligations.”

“We very much value the unique opportunities the QMEA brings to our students,” said Felicity Roberts Moranbah State High School Principal.

“This excursion was an eye-opener both for students and teachers and a wonderful way for the girls to discover new career possibilities and the pathways into them.”

“We congratulate Anglo American for making this tour possible as there’s no substitute for this kind of first-hand experience,” said Katrina-Lee Jones, Director Skills, Education and Training Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

“The six-hour experience included a mine site induction and observation of underground operations, and we’re hopeful that it will help promote mining careers to women.

“Currently women represent 15 percent of our resources sector workforce in Queensland and this sort of activity will help the QRC’s members reach our shared goal of at least 20 percent by 2020.

“A key recommendation from a report recently released by the Mitchell Institute was for school-industry partnerships to be a priority in all schools and this is a perfect example of the benefits that such a partnership can bring.”

“Anglo American continually looks for innovative ways to help women launch a career in underground coal mining and we were really pleased to welcome the group of students to our mine today,” said Paul Stephan General Manager, Moranbah North. 16

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