Women are scarce on the ground at South Middleback Ranges (SMR) in the heartland of South Australia's iron ore mining country, but the latest intake of employees has boosted their ranks to 10 per cent.
It is the confidence and new investment in Whyalla's steelworks which has led to the unexpected benefit.
BGC Contracting has taken on another 210 employees following optimism in the future of the steelworks and picking up another large contract.
The company has 540 employees who extract magnetite, which is pelletised and used at the Whyalla steelworks, and hematite, which is shipped from Whyalla to international markets.
Looking for good pay and time off
The mine site is a key employer in the region with jobs in drilling, blasting, loading, hauling, crusher feeding, and train loading.
The latest Federal Government Labour Market data shows that of the 242,600 people employed in mining nationally, 16.2 per cent are women.