Women are the mining industry's major hope

PROMOTING women in mining should not just be a cute slogan for the industry – it may very well decide its long-term future.
Women are the mining industry's major hope Women are the mining industry's major hope Women are the mining industry's major hope Women are the mining industry's major hope Women are the mining industry's major hope

The mining industry can afford to be left out of changes to society.

The mining industry needs to incorporate the diverse values of the broader community if it hopes to gain the support of political and corporate leadership.

Increasingly, diversity in the workplace is being adopted across the broad spectrum of Australian society.

This is slowly but surely changing the culture of workplaces - making them more inclusive and flexible to the varied needs of the different groups represented in working teams.

The mining industry cannot afford to be left out of this change if it does not want to be branded a pariah.

Coal mining is already struggling to maintain its social licence to operate in Australia with the growing emphasis on controlling climate change and the global urgency to reach net zero by 2050. This is despite coal being Australia's second largest export and a significant regional employer and investor.

The traditional male stereotypes associated with mining persist despite great steps being made recently to redress the gender imbalance in the industry.

This week the Minerals Council of Australia celebrated some of the best and brightest women in the industry who are at the vanguard of change in mining.      

The Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Award went to Phoebe Thomas, who is the principal of business performance at BHP Mt Arthur Coal in New South Wales.

She won the award for her impressive leadership, mentorship and injury management across the business, as well as strong advocacy on gender diversity and community outreach.

The Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources Award went to Maryann Wipaki, who is general manager health, safety, environment, community for Glencore Queensland Metals.

She has displayed strong advocacy of the important role the mining industry plays in Queensland and shown commitment to the safety of the workforce as a member of the Queensland Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee.

Employees with these outstanding qualities will make mining companies more productive, safe, and more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Hogback reckons the mining industry will increasingly need the input of women of this calibre if it is to continue to occupy a major place in the Australian society and economy.

Failure to recruit and promote intelligent and articulate women could relegate the mining industry to the status of a dinosaur - with no future and on the road to extinction.