Mining industry in South Africa looks to advance women
At last week’s Women in Mining Conference in Johannesburg, Mineral Resources Minister Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi addressed occupational challenges faced by women in the mining industry, including safety and security, and encouraged the industry to advance women’s rights and equal participation in the economy.
"Women should fully participate in this important sector that has the potential to grow South Africa's economy and thus improve the lives of all," Minister Ramatlhodi said.
"That is the only way we can truly eradicate the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
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According to estimates, the gender pay gap in South Africa is roughly 15 to 17 percent with mining and other heavy industries still lagging behind in terms of gender pay equity.
The Department of Mineral Resources is looking to change that, implementing a wide array of programs to promote women participation in the mining industry from general workers to executive positions.
"We continuously encourage the industry to implement legislation that will protect and advance the cause of women," Ramatlhodi said during the conference.
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"We need to develop implementable results that will transform the industry and increase investment in line with the goals of the National Development Plan.”
Phumeza Mgenge, an organized Labor representative, emphasized some of the challenges women in the sector face, including sexual harassment, fatalities, injuries and body protection gear not fitting, and encouraged women to educate themselves.
The status of women in South Africa has changed drastically since 1994 as the South African Parliament had 2.7 percent representation of women. After the 2009 general elections, women representation reached 42 percent. Women currently comprise 41 percent of the cabinet.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.