While it is clear that women in mining are a minority, and that long-term thinking is needed to increase accessibility and development of women in the mining sector, companies such as United Mining Services (UMS) are leading the drive towards inclusivity.

Digby Glover, CEO of the UMS Group, says that diversity has been one of the group’s long-standing values. The company’s two main arms, UMS Shaft Sinkers and UMS METS, have both been headed up by highly qualified, competent and experienced women for a number of years.

“This is unusual in the industry, but it shouldn’t be,” says Glover. “We use the right people in the right roles, who are appointed completely on merit. We source our employees from a diverse population of people, and as a result, our workforce is representative of that population.”

Women in Mining.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Women in Mining.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

He acknowledges that the shaft sinking business has been viewed as stuck in an industry that’s seen very little evolution for decades in terms of how a business should operate, but the company’s language has been shifting. UMS as a whole has been embracing new ideas to do things differently for some time.

“We have been at the forefront of change in the underground mining industry, and this puts us in a unique position in this sector,” says Glover.

“A large part of my role as the CEO of the UMS Group is to bring in the skills that will drive this change. I have brought in top-class people and they in turn have brought top-class people with them. We have started to assemble a team that punches far above our weight in terms of skills, know-how and experience required to do the work that we do, in order to accelerate our ability to do things better.

“It’s all about people, and I’m making sure that UMS has the best, both in terms of bringing the right people in, but also in terms of looking after them once they are there.”