Stefanie Loader has commenced the role of Managing Director at Northparkes Mines following the departure of Craig Stegman to Salt Lake City in the USA to look after major projects in Arizona and Peru.
Stefanie has been with Rio Tinto for 18 years and most recently, served as Project Director for the Diamonds and Minerals group’s Bunder project in India.
A geologist by training, Stefanie began her career as an exploration geologist in Western Australia.
She now has extensive global experience, having spent 10 years in mineral exploration roles in Australia, Laos, Chile and Peru before joining the mining side of the business at Diavik in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Along with her family (Philip who is 5 and Sofia who is 2 and husband Brendan), Stefanie has relocated from Delhi, India to Parkes.
Stefanie told the Champion Post there were many similarities between her position at the Bunder Project in India and Northparkes.
"The mine operation, the staff numbers, the town size… there are many things much the same and I really loved it there. My daughter was born in India and it has a great deal of significance in our lives.
"But the opportunity came up for me to work in Parkes and I welcomed the chance to come. These opportunities do not come up very often."
Stefanie said Northparkes had a great reputation within Rio Tinto.
"Northparkes is known for its safety, production, its great people, people development and its reputation in its community.
"It was number one on my list. It virtually covers all aspects of mining, from exploration almost directly to the customer.
"That depth, the breadth, of operation, really appealed to me.
"As well, living in a place like Parkes is also a major attraction. It is really Australia, with friendly people, plenty of space, a mix of agriculture and mining, a mix of communities… it is all here.
"How long I stay is up to me. I would like to remain for as long as I continue to have a positive impact on the business."
Stefanie said her son Philip has already enrolled in Holy Family School and Sofia is starting at the Parkes Early Childhood Centre.
Husband Brendan is part of the Rio Tinto global team and travels extensively around the world.
"I am virtually starting from point zero at Northparkes. In these early days, I have been meeting staff, being briefed on the operation, been part of an induction with other newcomers.
"I am just looking, listening and learning. I want to find out about the culture, the relationship with our neighbours such as the Parkes and Forbes shire councils, the businesses.
"Northparkes has been operating for 20 years and I would like to learn the reasons for it being so successful in the community."
Stefanie said the people of Parkes had been "very welcoming".
"People are so friendly, helpful… I don’t feel uncomfortable at all asking for help.
"We are really looking forward to getting involved with the community.
"We have been away from Australia for 17 years, and are now keen to get involved in spending good time with the kids, going on walks, sport.
"We will also enjoy all the space we now have, we have already been to The Dish which was very high on my list after seeing the movie and knowing its amazing history."