THE CHAMBER of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) announced its finalists for the 2016 Women in Resources Awards (WIRA), which is to take place on 4 March 2016.

The finalists represent a broad cross section of technical, operational and corporate roles in the resources sector and also recognise male and females that champion gender diversity in the workplace.

Held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, the awards are presented at a breakfast and hosted by journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb.

CME chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said the awards, now in its seventh year, had grown to be an important event on the resource industry calendar.

“With over 80 nominations received across the five award categories, we have again seen the high calibre of people working in the Western Australian resources sector showcased,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

“The awards celebrate the inspirational women we have working here in Western Australia, the men and women who champion gender diversity and the efforts of companies in the sector to improve the participation of women in our workforce.”

“Many innovative companies in the resources sector have board-level strategies and operational plans to address diversity, highlighting its importance in driving better performance and productivity.”

Even during tough market conditions, improving workforce diversity continues to be a focus for the resource sector, Mr Howard-Smith added.

Natasha Henrick, from the Santos Perth office, is one of four contenders in the ‘Outstanding Woman in Resources’ category.

Last year, Santos engineer Helena Wu who is based in Adelaide won the Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources award.

Ms Wu is a frequent speaker at university and industry events, often giving presentations to students interested in entering the resources sector.