Opening remarks by Carole Cable (Chair of Women in Mining UK) at the 2020 WIM100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining launch

By 19/11/2020 November 23rd, 2020 News

London – 19 November 2020: Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to everyone from around the world and congratulations to you all for being our 2020 global inspirational women in mining.  And thank you to our fabulous sponsors, BMO Capital Markets, BCG, IBM and Heidrick & Struggles, for their incredible support.

It would have been so much nicer to have met in person but that is not to be this year, so thank you all for joining us virtually.

Without your stories of your achievements, your struggles, your passions, and your advice, we cannot show other women in the industry, or the next generation, what they can do and what they can be.

And with this book of 100 role models, we hope that any woman around the world in mining will be able to see someone that looks like her and be inspired.

You show the world the wealth of female talent in mining and the breadth of roles, so there can no longer be an excuse of not being able to find women to work in mining to rectify the gender imbalance.

What I found so interesting about your stories was that there was a golden thread running through all of them – the need to modernise mining, to build an industry that is equitable, green, clean and safe. And all of you, no matter where you are in the value chain, are helping to make that happen.

But we need more leadership to pick up the pace of making the industry more diverse and inclusive because we will never make mining an attractive career choice for women or for the next generation if it is not diverse.

There was a perfectly timed story this week in the Financial Times that plays a tune that we all recognise. A woeful number of women on Boards and a woeful diversity of relevant experience that a mining company today needs to have to be fit for the future.

It highlighted the results of a survey published this week. 

The survey looked at mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, so not global, but it is fair to say that you will all probably recognise the results.

  • Surveyed 686 board members from 118 mining companies
  • 42% of the NEDs had a financial services background
  • 33% had a technical mining background
  • 13% had experience from outside the mining industry
  • But just 10% were women (and half of these sat on the boards of major miners)
  • But the biggest surprise was that just 35 directors on the boards of the 118 mining companies had backgrounds in health, safety, environment and community engagement (HSEC)

There are two shocking stats in that report – the lack of women on Boards especially in the smaller mining companies, and the lack of people on boards who have backgrounds in HSEC.

So, enter the 2020 WIM100.  What this edition shows is two things:

  1. There are already amazing women in roles with financial and technical backgrounds, so why aren’t they reflected on Boards? We exist but the Boards aren’t reflecting that.
  2. There are more women in this edition in sustainability roles that include ESG and HSEC.  This is just an observation from one edition to the next, but it is not that surprising given the need for this skill set.  But the question is, why is this not reflected on Boards when companies know how important it is?

The bottom line is we still have work to do.

And that is why it is so important to have visible role models like you, especially in the current circumstances of the pandemic where we can’t travel and network like we used to in person.

I loved the advice you all gave us:

  • Be bold
  • Be confident and
  • Support each other

And that is what we are doing today.  So let’s have fun, share, meet new people, stay connected, and support each other.

Huge congratulations to you all and thank you.

I see you and I am so inspired!

Carole Cable
Chair of Women in Mining (UK)