A FOSTERVILLE miner has been named 2020's exceptional woman in Victorian resources.
Sue Mills received the award for her career achievements, which have seen her rise through the ranks to run above ground operations at one of the worlds wealthiest mines.
The processing manager at Kirkland Lake Gold's Fosterville mine, north-east of Bendigo, began her career on a steelworks' shop floor in 1993.
She was a furnace melter and then a metallurgist before becoming the steelworks' first permanent female shop floor manager.
"It was a tough gig, I won't downgrade it in that aspect. And being a highly unionised site and being a young, female site manager, they put me through my paces," Ms Mills said.
"But I learnt a lot about building relationships with people, understanding that there are always reasons people do things and that we are all driven by different priorities."
The challenges showed Ms Mills how important being authentic is, and how to unite teams.
"So there have been some challenges, but there have also been a lot of opportunities. And in reflecting on the opportunities, I think that is why I've stayed," she said.
A lot has changed in the industry since that first leadership role, Ms Mills said.
The workforce has become more diverse and women are making their mark on workplace cultures and leadership.
Ms Mills wants to use the awards to highlight the opportunities that now exist for young women including in trade apprenticeships.
"Electricians, fitters, plumbers, there are some really good opportunities there," she said.
"It's a very versatile industry. We have paramedics, security officers and boilermakers. Any job you can think of in the community is usually reflected in resources as well ... there's some very interesting career opportunities you can take."
Ms Mills has worked at Fosterville for a decade and recently became processing manager, overseeing all operations and maintenance on the mine's surface.
"We are responsible for processing ore as it comes out from underground right through to the production of gold bullion and shipment," she said.
Ms Mills was among three women recognised at the Victorian Women in Resources awards, which were organised by the Mineral Council of Australia's Victoria division and the AusIMM Women in Mining and Resources Network Victoria.
Syrah Resources' Maddy Grochowski received the exceptional young woman in Victorian resources award.
Energy Australia/Yallourn Mine Maintenance Alliance's Carmel Jenkinson took home the outstanding trade operator or technician award.
Award winners will progress to a national event later this year.