AAL

Small mining companies knocked for falling behind on diversity

Credit: REUTERS/PHILIMON BULAWAYO

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.

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 AAL.L 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 BHP.AX, BHPB.L 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)

((eric.onstad@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7093; Twitter https://twitter.com/reutersEricO; Reuters Messaging: eric.onstad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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