Anne Williamson headshot


Anne Williamson


Vice President, Global Sustainability at Wood

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Years in SME:


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Number of years in the mining profession: 36 (38 if you include summer jobs!)

Number of years as an SME member: 40

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in mining and minerals?

On a family vacation at about 5 years old, I toured the iron mines in northern Minnesota, and was absolutely fascinated that rocks could be turned into the metals that are part of our everyday lives. Combine that with a little kid’s love of rocks, and becoming a geologist in mining was the obvious career path for me!

What part of your career makes you the most excited?

The people. Think about the broad range of skills and expertise that mining requires. Engineers, geologists, business managers, communications, lawyers, heavy equipment operators, environmental, commodity traders, supply chain, surveyors, machinists, metallurgists… I could keep going because this barely scratches the surface. I’m grateful to have a career that gives me the opportunity to work, and in many cases become fast friends with such a wide variety of people.

What mining/engineering innovations are you most excited about?

Innovative technologies and approaches for decarbonization. From incorporating solar facilities, hydrogen-powered fleets, and carbon capture technologies to direct deals between miners and product end-users, the possibilities are endless. And the time is right. The need for both battery metals and base metals to support energy transition is immense and urgent. I believe one of the biggest opportunities facing the mining and metals processing industries is meeting the demand to support energy transition in a manner that does not further contribute to emissions.

Where do you think the industry will take you in the next decade?

Before the end of the decade, I hope to be enjoying retirement in a world where responsibly mined materials are the building blocks of a decarbonized and resilient future. I hope to see the best and brightest professionals and tradespeople of the upcoming generations clamoring to be in the industry that is critical to building a better world.

What is something that someone outside the industry would find surprising about what you do?

Many people, both outside and inside the industry are surprised that I work to make my company profitable in ways that also benefit the planet and society. In other words, working towards the “triple bottom line”. For too long sustainability has been viewed as an extravagant expense, but to the contrary, it’s a mission-critical opportunity.

What is something your SME membership has given you that you didn’t anticipate when you first joined?

That’s an easy one. The opportunity to give back. For many years SME was about what it could do for me: expanding my technical horizons, making connections within the industry, career development. Now I find myself most grateful for the opportunity to give back through volunteering and donations, thereby supporting the spread of technical knowledge and innovations, providing critical networking opportunities, funding students pursuing mining careers, and keeping great professors in our mining schools.