The mining industry needs to stop talking about gender targets and take action to promote greater diversity in the workplace, according to the head of Women in Mining.
Mining remains one of the industries where women are least represented, with men occupying most positions globally from the pit to executive committees and the boardroom. Not one company in the FTSE 350 mining index is led by a women.
“I’m not interested in companies putting out statements about attracting women, I want to see them attract women,” said Nicole McCulloch, managing director of Women in Mining. “There is an infinite amount of talent out there we are not tapping.”
Ms McCulloch was speaking in central London at the launch of the 2018 edition of the ‘100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining, where she highlighted US gold producer Newmont Mining as an example for the industry to follow.
“If you look at Newmont they have a female chair and at least three female directors and strong executive committee,” she said. “If they can do it everyone else can do it.”
Other companies are also taking step to promote greater diversity. BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, has set a target for women to make up half of its workforce by 2025, but its strategy has not been followed by other companies.
Ms McCulloch’s comments come a few days after the UK’s biggest companies, including miners and oil companies, were criticised for the lack of progress in appointing senior women.
This followed the publication of the latest Hampton-Alexander review, which found that the number of female chief executives had fallen from 15 to 12 over the past year.
London is home to some of the world’s biggest miners including BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore, which appointed the first women to its board in 2014.
The lack of female representation is part of a broader challenging facing the mining industry.
As big miners adopt more technology and automation — in the form of driverless trucks and trains — it will need to recruit a more digitally savvy workforce. However, many young graduates and school leavers do not work for an industry that is perceived as dirty, environmentally damaging and lacking diversity.
Women in Mining received 643 nominations for this year’s book. The 100 women featured were selected by a panel of judges for persevering “in the face of adversity” and for helping to empower others being a role model for diversity and inclusion.