Archive | Women in Mining

In Pakistan’s coal rush, some women drivers break cultural barriers – by Syed Raza Hassan (Reuters U.S. – September 29, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

ISLAMKOT, Pakistan (Reuters) – As Pakistan bets on cheap coal in the Thar desert to resolve its energy crisis, a select group of women is eyeing a road out of poverty by snapping up truck-driving jobs that once only went to men.

Such work is seen as life-changing in this dusty southern region bordering India, where sand dunes cover estimated coal reserves of 175 billion tonnes and yellow dumper trucks swarm like bees around Pakistan’s largest open-pit mine.

The imposing 60-tonne trucks initially daunted Gulaban, 25, a housewife and mother of three from Thar’s Hindu community inside the staunchly conservative and mainly-Muslim nation of 208 million people. “At the beginning I was a bit nervous but now it’s normal to drive this dumper,” said Gulaban, clad in a pink saree, a traditional cloth worn by Hindu women across South Asia. Continue Reading →

‘Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No’: Mine workforce parity not likely in next decade, K+S says – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 18, 2017)

http://thestarphoenix.com/

The company behind Saskatchewan’s newest potash mine employs a greater percentage of women than many of its competitors in the traditionally male-dominated industry, but its senior manager of human resources says achieving gender parity in the next decade will be a tall order.

Maryann Deutscher said that while K+S Potash Canada’s (KSPC) superintendent of primary mining is a woman and there are other similar success stories in the company, it will take time for perceptions about traditional and non-traditional roles to fade and a larger pool of women willing to work in engineering and the trades to develop.

“Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No, it’s probably not realistic because your pool’s just not there yet, right?” Deutscher said Tuesday in an interview before adding: “When you’re thinking 10 years, there’s people that have to be in those trades, in those operator-type roles now … Will it grow? It’d be great to see it even grow by 10 per cent and get up to that 25-30 per cent, for sure.” Continue Reading →

First female general manager at Kalgoorlie Super Pit promises to shake up status quo – by Bettina Arrow , Sam Tomlin and Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 6, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

The first woman to run Kalgoorlie’s iconic Super Pit has promised to shake up the status quo at Western Australia’s most famous gold mine. Cecile Thaxter officially began as general manager at Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines on Monday, taking charge of more than 1,100 workers and millions of dollars in gold reserves.

Born in Jamaica and educated at Columbia University in New York, Ms Thaxter worked in investment banking prior to shifting into mining, where she worked in various executive roles for Super Pit co-owner Newmont Mining. As mining companies continue to push for greater female representation in senior roles, she said she was delighted by the accomplishment.

“Not necessarily for the first [woman], but for the second, third and others that come along.” Having most recently managed Newmont’s Phoenix/Lone Tree mine in Nevada, Ms Thaxter comes to Kalgoorlie-Boulder at an interesting juncture in the mine’s life. Continue Reading →

‘Hey gorgeous’: Meet 2 women sick of sexism and discrimination in mining – by Jamie Malbeuf (CBC News North – August 15, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Some women stay silent and endure unwelcome situations, others quit the industry

The crass, sexist attitudes that lead to a camera being planted in the women’s washroom of the Ekati diamond mine don’t surprise some women with experience working in the mining industry. On July 27, a camera hidden in the women’s washroom of the mine was brought to a camp administrator’s office for safe-keeping until security could arrive. But by the time they got there it was missing.

Ekati is about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. Workers live at the mine, typically working shifts of two weeks on and two weeks off. RCMP and mine security are still investigating the camera incident, but two women with experience in the industry say the conditions that make an episode like this possible are all too common.

Kari Lentowicz worked at a mine in Saskatchewan for more than 12 years before she said she couldn’t take it anymore. “It was just a hard environment to work in,” said Lentowicz. “The men far outnumber the women and as far as mining goes, they really hardwire that gender disparity in there, into their camps.” Continue Reading →

“Going for Gold”: Team Women in Mining aims to raise $1 million donation for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre by September 9, 2017!

TORONTO – (August 1, 2017) – Team Women in Mining is pleased to announce progress in a very ambitious fund-raising event that began 11 years ago. Every year since 2007, members of the Toronto chapter of WIM have raised funds in the fall walk for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Those donations are starting to add up to an impressive amount. Over the past 10 years the team has raised approximately $897,000, making Team Women in Mining one of the top fundraisers in the event’s 15-year history. This year’s team is now in a position to aim for and surpass a cumulative goal of $1 million. To achieve this in 2017, the WIM team needs to raise at least $110,000.

The mining press and mining associations have taken note of the team in the past, and now the general public is starting to hear more about the “little team that could”. Check out a July 18 TV interview on CP24’s breakfast program with two team members, Jane Werniuk and Geneviève Morinville, with Steve Merker from the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, http://bit.ly/2uUVOby, and please visit our team and personal stories at http://www.onewalk.ca/goto/womeninmining. Continue Reading →

How mining could be a boon for African women – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – July 18, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In northeastern Congo, unequal pay and cultural taboos have kept women from sharing in the country’s mineral wealth. Activists are trying to change that, and Canada’s ‘feminist’ foreign aid policy has a part to play, Geoffrey York reports

Standing barefoot in a swampy pond, Bibicha Sanao sloshes the muddy water in her basin with an expert motion, panning tenaciously until she finds the hidden treasure: a few tiny slivers of gold. It can be hazardous work. She lifts her pant leg to show the scars from a water snake’s bite. Sometimes she gets sick from the contaminated water and the chilly rain. It’s not much safer when she toils in a nearby gold pit, where she was once buried in a landslide.

Yet, she won’t give it up. Her mining work here in northeastern Congo is crucial for supporting her family, and she’s been doing it for many years – despite obstacles that men never face. Now, activists are fighting to remove those barriers, giving African women a chance at the higher incomes that traditionally go to men, while improving the health and safety of their working conditions. Continue Reading →

Guinean former fashion model digs into west African mining (AFP – July 5, 2017)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Leaving behind chic gowns and catwalks to stomp in the mud in heavy work boots, Guinean former fashion model Tiguidanke Camara has made herself west Africa’s first woman mine owner. In the small forest village of Guingouine, in the west of Ivory Coast, Camara runs a team of 10 geologists and labourers who are probing the soil for gold deposits.

She readily wades into a mucky pond to help take laboratory samples. “When I was a model, I showed off for the jewellers. They have licences in Africa to provide their precious stones,” says Camara amid a swarm of gnats, still youthful and trim in her 40s.

She does not recall any macho male resistance to her rise in an industry almost devoid of women, though bemused men have been prompted on occasion to ask whose assistant she might be. “When it got too much one day, I had to produce my CEO’s ID badge!” she protests mildly. Continue Reading →

Women in Mining: Judy Baker exploring for gold in Wawa and Red Lake – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – June 5, 2017)

https://www.timminstoday.com/

‘For women who have the drive to succeed, the opportunity is there’

Throughout Canada’s mining history, strong women leaders have made their mark in the mining industry beginning with Kathleen Rice and Viola McMillan in the early and mid 20th Century.

In the first decade and a half of the 21st Century, Judy Baker of Argo Gold and Ingrid Hibbard of Pelangio Gold, both spoke at the 2017 Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins, Ont. about their respective companies and the work they are doing to explore and bring into production their properties.

Baker and Hibbard follow the trail blazed by Kathleen Rice, a mining pioneer of the 1920s who explored nickel deposits near Thompson, Man. and set up gold mines in the Snow Lake area of Northern Manitoba; and Viola McMillan, who found several gold mines in the Timmins Porcupine camp of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. McMillan also served as the president of the Prospectors and Developers Association for many years. Continue Reading →

Mining Giant BHP Wants to Banish the Boys’ Club – by David Stringer and Matthew Winkler (Bloomberg News – April 5, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd., the No. 1 mining company, is taking diversity lessons from banks and law enforcement to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025 and promote women into top executives.

The miner has held talks with companies including Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. on policies to boost female recruitment and retention, Laura Tyler, Melbourne-based BHP’s chief of staff and head of geoscience, said Wednesday in an interview at Bloomberg’s Sydney office.

“Banking had also been seen as a boys’ club and the high street banks, the retail banking sector, has made a huge turnaround,” said Tyler, 50, who was appointed last year to BHP’s 10-strong executive team, one of three women to hold a top leadership post. “We are talking with them about how did they change things.” Continue Reading →

Who is Angela Bennett, Australia’s most reclusive billionaire? – by Dana McCauley (News.com.au – April 4, 2017)

http://www.news.com.au/

SHE’S the fourth richest woman in Australia with a net worth of more than $1.8 billion. But mining magnate Angela Bennett is so reclusive that her Wikipedia entry contains a photograph of her rival, Gina Rinehart.

The iron ore heiress, who like Rinehart inherited a vast swathe of mining interests from her father, is said to prize her anonymity so highly that she owns the copyright on pictures of an empty staircase at her former palatial abode on Perth’s Swan River.

And in two decades of chronicling legal disputes over her family’s iron ore fortune, photojournalists failed to capture a single image in which Ms Bennett could be easily identified — managing only to snatch blurry glimpses of the billionaire with her face partially or totally concealed. Continue Reading →

Pink Trucks, Netballers Power Billionaire’s Iron Mega-Mine – by Rebecca Keenan (Bloomberg News – March 30, 2017)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The woman who became the richest person in Australia by developing some of the nation’s vast iron ore deposits has learned one key lesson from the last commodity bust — hire cheaper workers.

Billionaire Gina Rinehart is expanding her payroll to ramp up production from the Roy Hill Holdings Pty mine in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara outback. Many of her new employees get paid less because they have little or no mining experience, like Courtney Grove, 24, who studied animal health and science at university. Since last month, Grove has been driving a pink mining truck that shuttles 226 metric tons of ore at the $10 billion mine.

Targeting so-called “greenies” who can be taught basic mining skills is part of Roy Hill’s push to keep costs low in an age of global surpluses and to diversify its workforce. The iron ore industry was hit hard by a three-year slump that eroded profit and left some companies stuck paying unskilled workers as much as A$200,000 ($154,000) annually, twice the average salary in Australia. While prices have rebounded over the past year, the rally isn’t expected to last. Continue Reading →

2017 PDAC Special Achievement Award: Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC)

PDAC 2017 Special Achievement Award: Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC) from PDAC on Vimeo.

Vi Andersen (WAMIC) and Ed Thompson

From time to time, the PDAC presents a Special Achievement Award that recognizes exceptional contributions to the mineral industry.

Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC): For continuous philanthropy to the mining industry, as well as Canadian health and educational institutions for 95 years.

WAMIC was founded in 1921 with the objective of promoting friendship among women connected to mining, supporting the industry and people in it, and participating in work that related to the well-being of Canadians.

Over the past 95 years, WAMIC members have overseen the distribution of more than $1.8 million in support of young people’s education, most of which was raised directly by their efforts. WAMIC is probably best known for its fundraising, its numerous and imaginative social events, and the association’s strong presence at both the PDAC and Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum conventions in Toronto. WAMIC was also the inspiration for the similar Greater Vancouver Mining Women’s Association in British Columbia.

While the role of the association has evolved in recent years, it continues to make a significant impact. WAMIC has provided financial support for hundreds of students undertaking earth science and mining-related subjects and programs at colleges and universities across Canada. Continue Reading →

Sudbury mine engineer writes kid’s mining book – by Laura Stradiotto (Sudbury Star – March 9, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

A Sudbury mining engineer has penned a children’s book as a way to promote diversity in the workplace and encourage more women to enter the industry.

Theresa Nyabeze works as a front line supervisor at Vale and is president of Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Sudbury. She is also part of a small demographic who make up the mining workforce. According to a 2014 study by Global Mining Standards and Guidelines, women account for only five to 10 per cent of the international mining workforce and only seven per cent serve on board positions.

In response to this trend, Nyabeze started her own business, Diversity STEM, with a mandate to create products and avenues to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The first project launched under her business is the illustrated children’s book, Underground! My Mining Adventure. Continue Reading →

Adventures of a Australian female opal miner – by Jason Bainbridge (The Age – February 26, 2017)

http://www.theage.com.au/

If Sue Cooper has a problem with her telephone reception, it is a 10-hour round trip for a Telstra Remote-Area Service technician in a four-wheel drive to fix it. If she needs to refuel? That’s a three-hour round trip with a 2000-litre tanker on a dirt track. And if she needs medical attention? Build your own airstrip in order for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to land.

Welcome to Sue Cooper’s life, six to seven months of every year, as an opal miner in western Queensland. One of Sue’s mining leases is on Mount Margaret Station, a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station. Located about 50 kilometres west of the township of Eromanga (Australia’s furthest town from the sea), Mount Margaret was once Australia’s largest sheep station, occupying 600,000 hectares.

Sue is a relative through marriage, and I visited her mining camp in late 2016. To give a sense of scale out here, the “bush paddock” containing Sue’s small mining lease is a rugged, fenced-off corner of the property comprising 69,000 hectares – roughly the size of Singapore. Often Sue, her partner and her children are the only people out here. Continue Reading →

Risky business pays off for Canadian mine developers – by Ella Myers (Northern Ontario Business – January 13, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Goodman School of Mines fireside chat yields inspirational career stories

In 1991, Catherine McLeod-Seltzer and Eira Thomas embarked on journeys that would separately launch their careers in mine development and discovery. In 2015, the women celebrated together as their company, Lucara Diamonds, unearthed a softball-sized diamond in Botswana.

The third largest diamond ever discovered signified the risky but rewarding nature of their industry. McLeod-Seltzer, the chair of Bear Creek Mining, and Thomas, founder of Lucara, joined Jonathan Goodman, Laurentian University’s executive in residence, for an informal, fireside chat in Sudbury, Jan. 10.

Speaking from a couch nestled beside a tiny gas fireplace, McLeod-Seltzer shared how she accepted a job running an office for a gold company in Chile in 1991. She said the global economic climate was open and optimistic and that there was a “shiny path” in South America. Continue Reading →