Archive | Women in Mining

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

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)

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)

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 →

World’s Top Miner Wants to Hire 21,000 Women – by Ann Koh and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – October 20, 2016)

BHP Billiton Ltd. wants women to account for half of its workforce by 2025 as the world’s top miner seeks to change the gender balance in an industry dominated by men. The company isn’t “as inclusive or diverse as we could be,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement on Thursday. BHP has a workforce of about 65,000, including contractors, of which 18 percent are female.

Based on these numbers, its target would mean an additional 21,000 women employed by the middle of the next decade including both its own staff and contractors, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The $800 billion mining industry has long been a male-dominated business, with women even banned from working underground in some countries until recently. Men hold a majority of executive positions in resources companies, lagging behind other sectors. Continue Reading →

Digging into diversity: Mining panel reflects on women, Indigenous inclusion in the workplace – by Ella Myers (Northern Ontario Business – October 20, 2016)

When Anna Tudela walked into her first mining conference, she was the only women in a room packed with men. She was sure she had found the wrong place.

On October 18, the vice-president of diversity, regulatory affairs and corporate secretary at Goldcorp was happy to see other women at the Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability/Mine Operations Conference (MeMO) in Sudbury, where she participated in a panel on diversity and inclusion.

She was joined by Jennifer Maki, executive director of Vale Base Metals, and Sudbury’s Ron Sarazin, special projects coordinator at Gezhtoojig Employment and Training. The panelists tackled gender, Indigenous peoples, immigrant labour, and mental health and wellness in mining. Continue Reading →

Check-up with the rock doctor: It’s a long way to the top, but CEO Catharine Farrow has made it – by Kyle Born (Canadian Mining & Energy – September 2016)

Most of us will never know what it’s like to be a CEO of an organization, but perhaps you’ve wondered what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Catharine Farrow has attained that coveted position within TMAC Resources Inc. As you might imagine, there’s not a whole lot of free time available to someone who’s accountable to so many. On this August morning Farrow is working away on emails at her home in Lake Nipissing, Ontario.

“My son is still off school, my husband has gone back to work, so this weekend I’m working from the cottage,” Farrow said. “I’m taking some downtime before the fall. I enjoy being a hockey mom to my son. He’s 12. Once I get into the fall I’m basically not home very much so I’m taking this week to hang out with the boys a little bit.”

If this is what downtime looks like, then what happens when things are busy? “I work out of the Toronto office,” Farrow said. “I basically get up in the morning and give ’er all day, see as many people as I can, do meetings.” TMAC owns the Hope Bay Project, which is a high-grade gold deposit located in Nunavut. Farrow oversees Hope Bay. Continue Reading →

[KWG Resources] How a junior mining company’s video featuring bikini-clad women spouting Ring of Fire facts became a cautionary tale for marketers – by Dave Burnett (Financial Post – September 14, 2016)

Dave Burnett is CEO of AOK Marketing, a Toronto-based firm that helps traditional offline businesses get discovered online

Here’s a cautionary tale for marketers everywhere. If somebody at your next marketing meeting suggests using two scantily clad young women to convey terribly mundane facts about mining — yes, mining — suggest they reconsider their chosen profession. Unless, as the chief executive or business owner, the idea was yours. In which case you need to heed the sage advice of your marketing team and change course before embarrassing your company.

Either approach might have helped prevent last month’s epic marketing failure by Canadian mining company KWG Resources. In it, two bikini-clad women share facts about the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich area in Northern Ontario.

In a media interview, Frank Smeenk, CEO of KWG Resources, defended the video: “Attractive women attract eyes,” he said. “All junior companies trying to raise capital for exploration are always trying to figure out how to bring attention to their stories.” Continue Reading →

Women dig mining – by Maureen Arges Nadin (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – August 27, 2016)

The world has changed since Janeanne MacGillivray challenged Subsection 10 of the Yukon Mining Safety Ordinance that stated “no female person shall be employed in underground work in any mine.”

That was in 1975 when MacGillivray headed north to seek equal opportunity in the resource economy and what she later described as a “big fat paycheque.”

There have been other female trailblazers in the mining industry and many might be surprised to know that the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada was established in 1941 by a prospector named Viola R. MacMillan. Women in mining today are picking up where these pioneers left off. Continue Reading →

Ring of Miner junior needs to mend fences with First Nations – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 19, 2016)

Using sex appeal to promote the Ring of Fire doesn’t sit well with the senior leadership of the Matawa First Nations.

Chief David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of the nine-community tribal council, accused KWG Resources and company president Frank Smeenk of “stooping very low” in attempting to communicate with First Nations in the James Bay region.

“KWG really needs to be more respectful of our leadership and especially our peoples. But certainly we are very insulted on this approach.” KWG Resources of Toronto, a junior exploration firm with chromite claims in the Ring of Fire camp, released a campy promotional video featuring two models in bikini tops and short shorts talking about the mineral potential in the region in early August.

One of the two models, who’s sitting on a swing in cottage country setting, said First Nations are “interested in sharing in the resources.” Continue Reading →

The South African mining town where 1 in 4 women say they have been raped – by Yanan Wang (Hamilton Spectator – August 17, 2016)

For years, South African women and men have come to Rustenburg Local Municipality in droves, attracted by its location at the heart of the world’s largest platinum group metals repository. Opportunities in mining have caused the population to balloon, making the town northwest of Johannesburg the fastest-growing municipality in the country.

But while employment has been abundant, it is largely men who have benefited.

Nearly 90 percent of Rustenburg’s mineworkers are men, while women, who have likewise flocked to the town from rural South Africa and nearby countries, struggle to find jobs. A Doctors Without Borders report released Tuesday suggests that this imbalance has carried insidious consequences: “Many females in Rustenburg may be financially dependent on men … [making] women less likely to report violence by a partner they depend on.” Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire video draws mixed reaction from women professionals – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 16, 2016)

The reviews on a racy Ring of Fire promotional video from KWG Resources featuring bikini models is drawing mixed reaction from some professional women in the mining industry.

If the video was intended to educate casual investors on the Ring of Fire, Barb Courte, chair of the Thunder Bay chapter of Women in Mining, wondered what kind of lesson was being absorbed. “If you want to educate people, putting someone in a bikini is not going to educate them. It’s tacky.”

She posted the video, entitled ‘5 Interesting Ring of Fire Facts,’ to her chapter’s Facebook page to gauge members’ reaction.“Basically, the women are not happy with this, and you know what? We’ve evolved. Why must we go back to the old days? If you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, that’s not how you do it.”

The short video features two former Sunshine Girl models promoting the mineral and economic potential of the Far North deposits while lounging at a lakeside cottage. Continue Reading →

Viral vixens court Ring of Fire [KWG Resources] junior miner controversy – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 12, 2016)

KWG Resources president Frank Smeenk makes no apologies to the social media reaction from a spicy company-sponsored promotional video featuring two bikini-wearing women hawking the virtues of the Ring of Fire.

“I guess I’m kind of tickled. It proves the old adage there’s no bad news, especially if you’re a junior mining company looking for a means of educating the public on the value proposition.”

Whether viewers were absorbing the ‘5 Interesting Ring of Fire Facts’ is matter of ongoing web debate judging by the uproar from critics who view the video, and its use of kitschy sexual innuendo, as an objectification of women.

The video features two models, Theresa Longo and Ashley Nicole, both former Sunshine Girls, promoting the mineral and economic potential of the Far North deposits while lounging at a lakeside cottage. Continue Reading →

[KWG Resources] Video represents ‘all that is really sick about the mining industry’, Pam Palmater says – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 11, 2016)

First Nations women draw link between ‘sex sells’ attitude and missing, murdered Indigenous women

A promotional video for a mining company featuring young women in bikini tops is “disgusting” and has one expert calling on government to explore what she says is a link between mining companies and sexual violence against Indigenous women.

The one-minute video appears on KWG Resources Youtube channel and shows two scantily-clad women talking about the Ring of Fire mining project in part of northern Ontario where much of the land is claimed by First Nations.

In one scene, a woman identified only as Ashley sits on a swing and says: “First Nations is [sic] interested in sharing in the resources of Ontario’s Ring of Fire.” Continue Reading →

[KWG Resources] Mining firm stands behind sexy ads – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 11, 2016)

There’s no such thing as bad press, says Frank Smeenk, so he won’t apologize for a controversial and sexy video hyping the Ring of Fire. Smeenk is president and chief executive officer of KWG Resources Ltd., an exploration company participating in the discovery, delineation and development of chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire.

Smeenk has come under fire since a short video produced by model-actress-entrepreneur Theresa Longo was released on YouTube. In it, Longo, 29, and friend Ashley Bonar, 32, rhyme off five facts about the Ring of Fire while dressed in bikini tops and short shorts at a cottage in Haliburton.

Smeenk said the idea for the video wasn’t his, but he’s glad Longo thought of it because it’s garnering headlines for the junior miner in Canada and abroad. That can’t be bad for a company trying to attract investors. Continue Reading →

Bikini-clad Ring of Fire video blasted as ‘archaic’ (Postmedia Network – August 11, 2016)

TORONTO — Sex sells, apparently even to promote mining in the north. A new promo video featuring women in bikinis extolling the virtues of the Ring of Fire mining area in Northern Ontario is raising some eyebrows.

In the video, entitled “5 Interesting ‘Ring of Fire’ Facts,” one of the women, Theresa Longo, stands on a dock in a crop-top and tiny cutoffs. She notes the comparisons between Alberta’s oilsands and the Ring of Fire — about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., that holds one of the world’s richest chromite deposits as well as nickel, copper and platinum.

A second woman, Ashley, sits on a lakeside swing in a bikini top and Daisy Dukes to let viewers know First Nations are “interested in sharing in the resources.” Continue Reading →