Diversity is drawing a lot of attention today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been a strong proponent, demonstrating tangible action with his cabinet appointments. And, perhaps when you read this note, there will be a female United States President-elect. You would be hard pressed, however, to find much mining news touting such progress.
Last year, I accepted the role of CIM President on short notice when the female candidate had to step down. I represent the industry’s status quo – white, middle-aged, straight and male – but I have made a personal commitment to promote diversity in CIM and the mining industry. This is not new for me as I have worked with very talented women, indigenous people and other minorities within mining to support their development. The best mill manager I ever had was a woman I recruited from Australia to work at the Campbell Mine in Red Lake. She improved processing performance year after year as we set new production records.
Our industry has quite a way to go to have a diverse mix of employees that can bring different talents to produce better results. As I mentioned in my previous Notes, we now need to make a concentrated effort to hire students and new graduates during the current downturn. Special regard should be given to candidates whose backgrounds are different than those of the past.
In Canada, support from indigenous groups is required to successfully advance resource projects. There are strategic advantages to having indigenous employees within mining companies whose experiences and perspectives can help navigate the complex challenges of project development.
Within CIM, we have to walk the talk on diversity. Within our Montreal national office, we have a two-to-one ratio of female to male employees. In 2018, Janice Zinck of Natural Resources Canada will take on the CIM presidency. CIM has had an active Diversity Advisory Committee since 2013. At MEMO 2016 in Sudbury, there was a special diversity and inclusion panel discussion. CIM will also continue to support Women in Mining and Women Who Rock initiatives.
As a CIM member, please join me in promoting diversity within our organization and the mining industry!