Bridging gaps for women in mining
The ability to excel requires perseverance, determination and courage, especially for a woman working in the mining industry in Papua New Guinea.
Australia Awards alumni Monica Koek, is a senior geological engineer at Ok Tedi Ltd Mines and is one of a few women working in this field in the country.
She is inspiring a new generation of job seekers, especially girls with their sights set for the mining industry, to study hard to achieve their career goals.
As the recipient of two Australia Award scholarships, her successes include attaining a Bachelor of Geological Science from the University of Western Australia, and later, a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales.
She was taught to persevere and be determined by her father while growing up as a child in Tabubil where her father as a pioneer worker helped to set up the Ok Tedi mine.
He has been Monica's mentor and is the driving force behind her successful career: "My dad taught me to set goals and to never quit," says Monica.
The skills and expertise she has gained through the Australia Awards Scholarships enabled her to contribute to her employer, Ok Tedi's Ltd Mining's overall successes.
Monica's role includes providing expert advice on infrastructure development, which can be challenging in Papua New Guinea, due to the geography and terrain.
"Unstable ground conditions are a major threat to the successful operation of the mine," explains Monica.
"Using state of the art ground monitoring equipment and ground assessment, my team ensures that production is achieved safely."
While in Australia pursing her undergraduate studies, Monica also enjoyed the unique opportunity of working part time as a student geologist in Perth with gold mining giant, Newmont Australasia.
In 2010, Monica contributed to a paper - "A review of the PGM industry, deposit models and exploration practices: Implications for Australia's PGM potential" - that was published in the highly-regarded Resources Policy Journal.
As an Australia Awards alumni, Monica remains an advocate for education, to assist in building Papua New Guinea's human resources.