Feb 25, 2017

Harriet Schuyler

Engineer shares her passion for mining
Passion is a word that crops up regularly when Harriet Schuyler starts talking about mining and mentoring.

The 25-year-old engineer’s commitment to her profession and engaging with others have seen her named as a finalist in the ‘Exceptional Young Woman in Mining’ category of this year’s Resources Awards for Women.   The South32 Cannington silver-lead mine is Ms Schuyler’s latest career posting after stints at Olympic Dam in South Australia and Saraji in central Queensland.

It is a return to her first love of mining – hard rock.

“I’ve always been an outdoorsy type of person, so I knew I was never go to be a Monday-to-Friday desk job kind of person,” Ms Schuyler said.

“I originally did a Bachelor of Science majoring in mineral geoscience at Adelaide University and had my heart set on being in exploration, but when I graduated the industry was going into a downturn and exploration was the first thing to have the budget cut.

“So I went into mining to see how I enjoyed that and absolutely loved it.

“I did my graduate program at Olympic Dam and fell in love with the underground hard rock mining and ended up doing my Masters of Mining Engineering through UNSW to really cement that.

“I did some work in the open-cut coal environment as well at Saraji with BMA –that was my big move to Queensland after three and a half years in remote South Australia.

“I decided that my passion lay with underground hard rock and made the move back into that capacity at Cannington.”

Ms Schuyler lives in Brisbane and works FIFO shifts at the north-west Queensland site, where she is a specialist operations engineer working on analysis and improvement.

“I collate and analyse data from previous shifts and weeks and months and look for trends and opportunities to improve that data,” she said.

“I’m also working in a projects space – looking to improve the systems, improve the way we do things.”

Her attention has recently focused on the performance of the South32 Cannington hoist – evaluating data on downtime, maintenance and hoist rates, for example.

Originally from the Barossa Valley, Ms Schuyler is a keen advocate of STEM subjects in schools.

“I’ve always been really interested in science, technology, engineering and maths and in the past year or so have really gotten into encouraging students to study STEM subjects from a younger age,” she said.

“That’s how we’re going to get quality people in our industry, is to start from that young age and really ingrain that passion and that love for science and technology.

“I did a lot of tutoring when I lived in central Queensland and did a few presentations at high schools there also.”

Ms Schuyler is part of the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program managed by CSIRO and continues her involvement with the National Youth Science Forum.

She was the site leader and facilitator for the My Mentor – Courageous Woman Program while working at BMA Saraji and continues to mentor and support women in the workplace at Cannington.


“I’m very passionate about what I do – which helps,” she said of her mentoring role.

“I’m also pretty outgoing and I call it like it is – so if I see an issue or if I see someone struggling I’m going to ask them if it’s OK, I’m going to call something out as an issue, I’m going to make myself heard.

“I think it’s important and that’s one of the skills we find females struggle with because it’s not ingrained in us. I’ve had to learn to step up and speak out.

“That’s something I’ve learned and something I’ve noticed has really helped me personally and in my career.”

Ms Schuyler is also a firm believer in the value of the Queensland Resources Council/Women in Mining and Resources Queensland Resources Awards for Women.

“I think it’s great the awards exist because it’s about raising the profile of the industry as a whole – the more it gets out there the more interest it sparks in people, then you can start building the passion.”