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Since joining Orica in 2008, Karen (pictured at the recent IQA conference) has specialised in the quarrying industry. She works closely with producers to achieve quality blast outcomes.
Since joining Orica in 2008, Karen (pictured at the recent IQA conference) has specialised in the quarrying industry. She works closely with producers to achieve quality blast outcomes.

Karen Normanton: Marathon performer

With 10 years in the quarrying industry under her belt, Karen Normanton has already proven that she is running a marathon, not a sprint. She discusses why the industry is so rewarding for her and why the Women in Quarrying network is such a worthy initiative.

Karen Normanton is a mining engineer currently working as a senior technical services engineer for Orica in the quarrying and construction space. She graduated from the Western Australian School of Mines in Kalgoorlie and began her career working for Placer Dome Asia Pacific. After Barrick acquired Placer Dome, Karen progressed her career in Barrick’s business for a number of years.

During this time, she gained her Western Australian Quarry Managers certification and also worked in the underground business, both in the office as a production engineer, and also from a practical perspective where she worked on the underground crews for a 12-month period.

Since joining Orica in 2008, Karen has specialised in the quarrying industry, working closely with customers to achieve quality blast outcomes, including control of environmental results, long-term blast planning, and final wall control.

What is your biggest challenge in your career to date?

"The running group is like my extended family and the joy they bring to my life is beyond words."

The biggest challenge in my career to date has been returning to the workforce after having my daughter. However, if you were to ask me what my biggest challenge has been specifically in my job, I would have to say keeping up with technology, staying informed and ensuring I am always keeping abreast of new advancements in blasting and their applications.

What opportunities have you had in this industry that you wouldn’t have had elsewhere?

As a mining engineer in the mining industry, my career would have taken a very different turn. By engaging in the quarrying industry I have been exposed to the technical design aspects of close proximity blasts and community concerns. This industry gives me the chance to be a well-rounded engineer and work in the field, in the office, with many clients, across many sites and deal with many regulators. There are not many mining engineers that get to say that.

What does the WIQ mean to you?

Women In Quarrying is such a fantastic initiative. I have been in and around the IQA for nearly 10 years but the connections I have made since being actively involved in the Women in Quarrying network has enhanced my experience of IQA events greatly. It assists in creating some of the camaraderie that already exists for the men and allows the sharing of some of those industry challenges that more often than not affect mostly women. The introduction of the day-long seminar is just fantastic and it is so inspiring to see such a large volume of men supporting the women in their businesses. It really is a great step in the right direction for our industry.

Outside of work, what keeps you smiling?

Now this is a great question! Before I had my daughter I wouldn’t have been able to answer this question but here I am, six years down the track and there is so much outside of work that keeps a smile on my face! First, my daughter. She is an absolute champion and she makes me smile (and sometimes cry) each and every day. Second, my running group. I am one of those crazy people that runs at 5.00am most mornings, runs half-marathons, full marathons and I am soon to become an ultra-marathoner. The running group is like my extended family and the joy they bring to my life is beyond words. Third, I set myself a goal to do something new for the first time as often as I can. Did you know you can learn new things (and even be great at new things) after you turn 35? Who knew?

What does the future hold for Karen Normanton?

When I think about my future I really do see myself in the quarrying industry for a long, long time. I am truly inspired by the people I meet and work with each day and the connections we have. I love being a part of the blasting world and being able to deliver quality outcomes to the sites. I see that I’ll be a life-long member of the IQA and I’d like to inspire others in our industry as one of the first female blasting specialists within the organisation. Oh ... and I thinkI’ll keep running!



















Thursday, 18 October, 2018 06:21am
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