Jodie standing in front of bulldozer at a mining site

Wrangling the world’s biggest bulldozers

Step into the driver’s seat of one of the biggest dozers in the world

Last updated: 20 June 2024

Over an 11-year mining career, Jodie - a Noongar woman from Albany in Western Australia – has qualified to operate every machine at our Greater Nammuldi mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. But she always had her heart set on driving the ‘big boss’ - and last year became the mine’s first woman to operate a Caterpillar D11 dozer.

“I’m an operator at Greater Nammuldi (GNAM), so my day-to-day work is operating heavy vehicles and machinery. That covers pretty much everything here – Hitachi 5600 and 3600 diggers, LeTourneau 2350 and 1830 wheel loaders, and Caterpillar 992 and 993 front-end loaders. I do the train loadout too, plus every single water truck and haul truck on this site. I also do a lot of the autonomous stuff.  

And since October 2023, that includes the D11 tracked dozer. It’s a wonderful machine, very versatile and very powerful. 

I’m the first woman to drive a dozer at GNAM. It’s really exciting. When I started here 11 years ago, I trained on the Komatsu WA250 IT loader, the Cat 730 haul truck and the Cat 777G water truck. But after seeing what the dozer could do, it was the one machine that I really wanted to operate, so I was keen to get on it and give it a crack. 

Back in 2023, our new mine manager wanted to find someone to inspire women to realise we could operate any machine on site. My team leader knew I was keen and said, “I've got the perfect candidate!”

It takes a long time to get a hang of, and like everything, the more time you spend on it the better you get.  

I just love it. People compliment me on my driving, and I take pride in my work. For example, I built that ramp over there. When I’m driving on it, I think, “Hoo! I built this!”

Another woman here on site has started on the D11 since I started, and I hope I can inspire other women and Indigenous people to give it a go as well.

My sister has just finished her one-year traineeship with Rio too. She's over the road at Brockman 4. She's an operator and she’s very much inspired to do more heavy-vehicle work and get on dozers - anything with tracks really. She’s on a water truck now and absolutely loving it.

You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

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