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Small mining companies knocked for falling behind on diversity

Mon, 19th Oct 2020 16:40

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Small mining firms are failing to
increase their hiring of women while trading companies have made
little progress in boosting Black representation, an industry
conference heard on Monday.

Employment of women in the traditionally male mining sector
has risen and averages between 5% and 15%, Carole Cable, the
chair of Women in Mining UK, told a virtual London Metal
Exchange seminar. She did not say how much the proportion has
increased.

Female employment at big mining groups is higher than the
average while small firms are lagging behind, said Cable, who is
joint global head of energy and resources at advisory firm
Brunswick.

"The leadership has to come from the top... the majors like
Anglo are leading the charge on that, but the juniors are
falling woefully behind."

Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani told
the seminar that in most cases laws had barred women from
working at underground mines, but in South Africa women comprise
half the workforce in some categories.

In 2016, the world's biggest miner BHP set
a target for women to make up half of its workforce by 2025. At
the time, they accounted for 17.6% of workers and BHP said last
October it had increased the percentage to 24.5%.

"I remember in the early days when women were not treated
well. There was always some form of, I wouldn't call it
harassment, but certainly inappropriate behaviour," Cutifani
said. "It's still a mixed bag, there's still a long way to go."

There has been scant progress in increasing Black
representation in financial services, said Pamela Jones,
co-founder of Genesis Consultancy.

"I have been in financial services for 25 years. When I
joined I was the only Black woman on the trading floor and when
I left financial services at the end of last year there were two
Black people on the trading floor," she told the seminar.

"It is quite upsetting, if I'm honest."
(Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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