Dr. Sandra E Close
Dr Sandra Close graduated from the University of Sydney majoring in geology and later gained a PhD from the University of Melbourne. She commenced her career as a field geologist with CRA Exploration (now Rio Tinto) in early 1967 and was the first woman in Australia to be employed by a company as a full-time field geologist. Over the next decade she worked in all states of Australia on a wide range of commodities, as well as being seconded for extensive periods to the United States and the Republic of Ireland.
On return to Australia she joined the Australian Atomic Energy Commission briefly, while the later 1970s saw her take up another challenge when she became a banker with the Australian Resources Development Bank. Then, in yet another ‘pioneering’ career change she joined Shell Australia in the early 1980s when the company was involved in a wide range of energy and mining ventures. Over the next decade she held several senior executive roles in finance, planning, strategy and general management. In the 1990s, she left Shell to form the consulting group, Surbiton Associates.
Today she is recognised for her extensive knowledge of and expertise in the technical, economic and financial aspects of the Australian gold mining industry and remains a well-known media commentator, communicating to the wider community on gold and the minerals industry generally. She is also author of the book, The Great Gold Renaissance – The Untold Story of the Modern Australian Gold Boom.
Sandra has been an active member of the AusIMM for over 50 years. She served as a Councillor for seven years and Director for six years. She has also held many other positions, including Branch Chair, Chair of Committees such as Publications, Professional Development and Heritage and chair or member of a wide range of other committees and organising groups within the AusIMM.
She was a part-time Member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and its predecessors for some 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s.
Throughout her long and varied career Sandra has been a role model and a strong advocate for the greater participation of women in the industry. She has encouraged and supported many minerals professionals, both women and men. She says her unusual career has been interesting but challenging. Few people today would comprehend some of the difficulties she has faced but which she has overcome through persistence and tenacity. She is married and has twin sons.