QMEB » IMARC 2022 tackles sector’s gender divide
Events & Awards Latest News

IMARC 2022 tackles sector’s gender divide

IMARC gender divide
IMARC gender divide

Closing the gender gap in mining is not only a matter of equity, it also makes business sense, according to five Australian experts who will be addressing the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney in November.

As a whole, the mining industry is trying to address the under-representation of women in mining and foster a culture of safe and welcoming workplaces right across the mining value chain. Statistics highlighted by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) shows that women only make up 20 per cent of the mining workforce. Unfortunately, at an executive level it gets worse with only 6.7 per cent of mining CEOs being female, compared to the national average of 19.4 per cent.

MinterEllison partner and head of Perth’s workplace law team Kathy Reid said, “The industry is facing significant challenges and there is not one easy answer. Improving mining for women will require significant and consistent cultural shifts across the industry but getting there will be difficult.”

Reid describes this issue as a chicken and the egg conundrum.

“You cannot really make women feel more comfortable in the mining industry until you have got greater numbers but you cannot get greater numbers unless you make them feel more comfortable,” she said in a public statement.

METS Ignited agrees some great strides have been made to make mining more appealing to women, highlighting the power of leveraging tech and innovation.

“Equipment manufacturers are leading the way by breaking down barriers to entry, from simple things like hi-vis gear that is made for women, to major capital investments in heavy equipment,” general manager Kylah Morrison said.

“Rather than the traditional burly bloke on the frontline, maybe it is a remotely managed machine, which adds even more to the potential inclusiveness of mining. Inclusivity is important and that’s where innovation and technology is really exciting because it does make it more of an even playing field.”

AusIMM independent consultant Giulia Savio suggests the mining industry clearly recognises the need to make the workplace more inviting for women, not just by moving away from a “male-only” culture but by using innovation to create new opportunities in rewarding, highly paid and long-term careers.

However, Savio believes the trend within the industry is positive and applauds the fact that IMARC 2022 is taking a strong focus on the development of female leadership in the sector, and will feature record numbers of female delegates, speakers and panellists.

“We are not there yet. To have true diversity and to realise the value of that diversity, you need inclusivity. In order to improve the industry, leaders need to look at making the sector more friendly and inviting for all. This might mean greater diversity in teams, equipment that can be used by someone with a disability, or more opportunities for flexibility in office based or site-based roles,” she said.

Agnico Eagle vice president John Landmark echoes this sentiment, outlining the need to tap into a far broader spectrum of talent to shift the idea of the industry being male dominated to being an industry that is in touch with society’s expectations.

“We have got to change this and we have got to get this right. We must make the workplace more attractive for women and society as a whole,” Landmark said.

“I am so excited that these challenges are such a major focus at IMARC and gives us an opportunity to improve the industry for everyone. The ideal workplace is where everyone can be themselves and contribute to the team environment – people of all diverse backgrounds and makeups. Frankly, if you make the industry more attractive to women, you improve the industry for all.”

IMARC’s Balance for Better, Next Gen programmes and First Nations partnership initiatives aim to set the tone for a more diverse future for the sector overall, encouraging attendance from more indigenous delegates, providing opportunities for young people. It also champions equality with women in leadership positions, community roles and engineering a key focus across the programme as well as ensuring safe workplaces for all across the entire value chain.

With global leaders at the event collaborating on trends in mining, investment and innovation towards a sustainable future. It is toutetd to be the most significant in-person gathering of Australian and international mining and resources representatives in almost three years, and will be held under the one roof across a massive 17,000 sqm.

The conference, billed to be the largest of its kind in Australia, will provide the premier opportunity for domestic and international industry leaders to engage, learn, network and – most importantly – do business, while addressing the energy transition, rising costs, skills shortages, social performance, and diversity within the resources sector.

IMARC managing director Anita Richards said the response to the 2022 event has been overwhelming and looks forward to seeing the impact is has on the industry.

“We are welcoming a record number of delegates this year, representing 800 mining companies and – with IMARC exhibitors increasing by 85 per cent since 2019 – we have had to expand the expo floor by 40 per cent,” Richards said.

“The programme will see over 450 speakers across six concurrent conferences covering global opportunities, industry collaboration, the energy transition, investment, innovation and more.

“This industry has seen so much change since the last in-person IMARC event but this November global delegates will finally have the opportunity to connect face-to-face in Sydney, build relationships, forge partnerships and do business.”

The mining industry is facing more challenges than ever before, including supply chain volatility, workforce shortages, the rising cost of business, the pressures of environmental, social and governance navigating the energy transition and growing social and investor expectations.

IMARC is promised to be a key forum that addresses these issues by gathering a wide cross-section of the mining value chain to share learnings, insights and help each other navigate pathways to a sustainable and prosperous future – whether in exploration and investment, operational transformation, workforce growth or community engagement.

IMARC 2022 banner
IMARC 2022 banner

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Gold/Silver Index