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Advancing inclusion and diversity in the mining industry

February 16, 2018

By Resa Furey

In today’s business environment, having a diverse workforce is essential

Mining industry leaders see a clear case for workforce diversity. In October 2016, Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, announced the aspirational goal to achieve a gender-equal workforce by 2025. The industry has made progress to improve gender diversity but still more is needed. According to PwC’s Mining for Talent 2015 report of the top 500 mining companies, only 7.9% of board members are female and the number of women in executive management pipelines is actually falling.

"A gender equal work force is not an easy goal, yet it is one that I believe the industry can achieve. To get there, we need involvement and commitment at every level and from across the industry," says Resa Furey, marketing and business development manager for mining at Stantec.

Studies Support Positive Business Outcomes for Diversity

Having a diverse workforce is no longer a differentiator. In today’s business environment, it is a minimum requirement when recruiting and retaining top talent. Recent global studies by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and by McKinsey & Company confirm there is a positive relationship between diversity and business performance and that diversity in leadership roles matters most. According to the McKinsey & Company study, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams outperform on profitability and value creation.

SME Opens Doors to Inclusion and Diversity in Mining

To support the mining industry’s goals, the SME 2018 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 25–28, 2018 will host a session devoted to inspiring diverse populations—especially women and young professionals—to create their future in the mining industry. Session organizers invited those new to the industry and seasoned veterans to present studies and stories about how they opened doors, overcame challenges and created opportunities for themselves and others in the mining industry.

Julie Shuttleworth, session co-chair and deputy CEO of Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group, says “Sharing our experiences and career journey is a great way to inspire others. This session will be particularly interesting for women and young professionals as it will highlight how others have progressed through their careers; the challenges, lessons learnt and highlights along the way. It’s a great motivator for self-reflection and personal goal setting.”

Innovation in Career Paths and Supply Chain

Topics span from The Readiness of the South African Coal Mining Industry to Support Women in Mining to a paper on Reality Versus Perception: Dissecting the Challenges in Achieving Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Mining Industry. Another paper looks at how women in Peru are now part of mining’s commercial supply chain and the types of jobs that have been created as a result. The session will end with a discussion that explores non-conventional career paths for mining engineers.

“I’m excited by the variety of papers we received. Some papers are data driven, while others are focused on the variety of career opportunities that one finds in the industry,” says Furey. “Our goal is to promote and encourage diverse voices so the session includes information and stories that are often underrepresented in the industry today,” she added.

Additional Inclusion and Diversity Talks at SME 2018

In addition to the International Women in Mining session, there will also be a Women of SME Breakfast on Tuesday, February 27 from 7 am to 9 am at the Hilton Minneapolis. Maureen Berkner Boyt will present Understanding Why Women Lack Sponsors and share how to best position oneself for opportunities.1The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:

  • Brian Day, President Customer Services and Group Executive Vice President, FLSmidth Inc.
  • Tom Palmer, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Newmont Mining Cooperation
  • Josh Olmsted, Senior Vice President, North America Copper, Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.

“The all-male make-up of the panel reflects the reality that fewer top leadership positions are held by women and that male leaders are needed to change the balance of power,” remarked the breakfast chair Rebecca Siwale, Process Engineer at FLSmidth Inc. Get your tickets to the event early as it is expected to sell out.

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  • Resa Furey

    As our marketing and business development manager for global Mining, Resa works to promote our Company while keeping our clients’ goals in the forefront of all our work.

    Contact Resa
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