Despite the under-representation of women in the mining sector, progress has been made. This was evident at the packed two-day conference room at the Women and Leadership Conference in Mining, hosted by Pinpoint Stewards at the end of Women’s month.

“The energy in the room at the conference simply cannot be translated on paper – the excitement in the reception of delegates welcoming the speakers to the podium was contagious.  It is clear that women are ready to support one another, to take the opportunities set out before them, to grow their careers in mining, to develop their competencies and their brands and to be noticed for their work output,” says Ankia Roux, co-founder of Pinpoint Stewards.

Several high-impact speakers shared realities from their day-to-day experiences and what they have learnt on their way to the top.  Women leaders imparted “concrete” techniques and solutions to overcome barriers and seize opportunities.  The audience of mostly women, were reminded that “it starts with you!” and that opportunities are available for the taking. Another clear message was that “your delivery of work and meeting targets should speak for themselves, and you will stand out from rest”.  Women were advised to work closely with mentors and to find “sponsors” who could represent them in meetings where they are not present, making their intentions to lead clear. 

A panel discussion on day two focused on the target of doubling the number of women in mining by 2025. Supplied by Pinpoint Stewards

A panel discussion on day two focused on the target of doubling the number of women in mining by 2025. Supplied by Pinpoint Stewards

For two days delegates were captivated by discussions with speakers such as: general manager – Mining at Impala Platinum, Nonkululeko Mabuza,  Mogaleadi Seabela, section manager at Anglo American, Kumba Iron Ore’s, Khutjo Ivy Lebelo, senior mining engineer at De Beers Group – Venetia Mine, Mbali Milanzi, commercial director at Tshepa Basadi Group,  superintendent Mining at Exxaro, Dolly Masilela, Raksha Naidoo chairperson – WiMSA, Fatima Hayat, HR manager at Glencore Alloys – Wonderkop Smelter, Fatima Collins, project manager – Women of Sibanye-Stillwater at Sibanye-Stillwater, Tumi Sedupane, group HR manager at Overlooked Group, Mokgadi Maloba, group environmental manager and ESG coordinator at Salungano Group, Maropeng Ketjoe, project manager Social and Legal Compliance at Ivanhoe Mines and Shaveta K Mehta, serial entrepreneur at River Minerals.

Exhibitions by Tshepa Basadi Group, Blue Hawk Tactical, River Minerals (Pty) Ltd and Total Energies (Pty) Ltd, were on offer and showed company commitment and support for women empowerment and the agenda to uplift women.  After day one of the conference delegates were also able to network and exchange contacts during the De Grendel wine tasting with great prizes sponsored by the South African wine maker. 

A panel discussion on day two focused on the target of doubling the number of women in mining by 2025. The Q & A session raised challenges faced in the industry and collaboration in the room ensured that solutions not only emanated from the podium, but also from the delegates in attendance. Some key points raised on how to achieve this were: leadership commitment is key especially with regards balanced scorecards, zero tolerance towards GBV is required, the mining sector must afford a safe environment for women, flexible working hours are required for women, retention of women in mining is key, mental health and psychological safety is paramount for women, lack of communication must improve not only top down, but bottom up –  giving women an opportunity to share, take responsibility, study, look for growth and opportunities – even if growth is lateral,  ensuring that KPI’s are addressed by clearly outlining roles and responsibilities to avoid failure, strong mentorship and reciprocal mentee efforts to build relationships are imperative and adding emotional intelligence as a key component should never be underestimated. These were just a few of the requirements discussed.

The packed two-day conference room at the Women and Leadership Conference in Mining, hosted by Pinpoint Stewards at the end of Women’s month. Supplied by Pinpoint Stewards

The packed two-day conference room at the Women and Leadership Conference in Mining, hosted by Pinpoint Stewards at the end of Women’s month. Supplied by Pinpoint Stewards

One of Pinpoint Steward’s beneficiaries, WiMSA created a career booklet in 2022, to showcase the different facets of women in mining.  Their intention is to share this practical booklet with young girls at school level to get them excited about STEM subjects and careers in mining.  “We are proud to support this initiative,” says Sudhira Sewsunker, co-founder of Pinpoint Stewards. “We also encourage women to join the South African network of women in mining to mentor, engage and talk business.”

Ten students from WITS university Geoscience faculty were sponsored by Pinpoint Stewards to join the conference and were introduced to the audience with the objective of career guidance and possible job shadowing opportunities.  The platform gave the young minds a look into the corporate world of work and a true reflection of being a woman in mining. Delegates and speakers alike took these young ladies under their wings and encouraged them to excel during the two-day conference. 

Follow the African Mining LinkedIn feeds during and after the conference for more information: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7102555887747182592

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