International Women's Day: Anglo American
Today, women account for approximately 16% of the mining industry -something Anglo American is keen to change. For International Women’s Day 2021 the company responded to the theme #ChooseToChallenge by speaking to some of the inspiring women behind its success in a bid to encourage other women to pursue a career in mining.
Redressing the Balance
Mining encompasses many disciplines and professions and can only improve with the inclusion of different perspectives and skill sets said Jen Williams, Interface Manager at the Woodsmith Project in the UK: “For all the decades I’ve been in engineering, there’s still not that many women coming through and I think that’s a shame. I think women are missing out on a really exciting career.”
Anglo American’s goal is to create an inclusive workplace where every colleague can contribute. Many of those interviewed talked about the challenges they had encountered as women in the industry and what they wished they had known earlier in their careers. “I wish someone had told me when I started my career to be more confident about what I bring to the table,” said Nolitha Fakude, Group Director - South Africa, “And also to understand that I can add value and that my unique contributions are actually appreciated.”
Asked about some of the biggest challenges women face Paulina Jaramillo, Head of Asset Strategy and Reliability for Anglo’s copper business, replied: “I think being treated as an equal, recognition that you are not in the position you are in because the company is trying to reach a certain quota of women but that you recognise and value your knowledge, capabilities and experience.”
Anglo American accepts there is work to be done to welcome more women into the industry and has set a target of 33% female representation by 2023 at all management levels, in every business unit and group function.
The miner is aiming to ensure its people feel fully supported throughout their careers. “The biggest challenge for me was when I had children and was away from work for extended periods of time,” said Anushika Bhana, from the Commercial Strategy Team in Singapore. “But I was lucky enough to have great support from Anglo American. They kept me connected and made my transition back into the workplace seamless.”
That support now includes a robust policy framework, colleague networks, apprenticeships, a global mentoring programme and a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and victimisation.
Looking to the Future
Advice for future women in mining, from women in mining…
- “Challenge change, be creative in your problem solving, but most importantly, enjoy what you do and acknowledge the people you are privileged to do it with.” - Stephanie Liggins, Principal Scientist, Element Six
- “Don’t try and fit someone else’s version of what success is. You decide what that looks like and you go and achieve it.” - Zaheera Soomar, Head of Education
- “You will have to learn to put yourself forward. You will also need to be bold, brave and courageous and be your authentic self.” - Salima Shariff, Head of Talent Acquisition
- “Your health and your family should always be your priority. Never ever compromise or sacrifice either of those.” - Froydis Cameron, Group Head of International and Government Relations
BHP deliberates ditching fossil fuels for greener mining
The world’s biggest miner, Australian-based BHP, is supposedly considering withdrawing from a multi-billion dollar contract, which would see the company generate more than US$2bn due to mounting pressure over aligning its business with ongoing climate concerns and ESG-compliance measures.
Exiting the agreement would mean BHP escalate its distancing from oil and gas and subsequently cut down on the amount of fossil fuels used by the company when mining.
It’s estimated that the petroleum business being debated upon could actually be worth around US$15bn but is still under talks to be put up for sale.
Global Mining Giant Considers Greener Future
BHP has made itself clear that it wants to avoid becoming unable to sell its assets. As competition within the market increases following higher numbers of oil giants wrestling with investors to deal with climate pressure, so too are the number of mining rivals looking to make environmental changes for the future.
However, BHP currently has the upper hand as a stalwart mining company that established itself back in the 1960s, allowing it the time to grow and dominate over other fast-appearing mining competition.
Mike Henry, BHP Chief Executive, has an optimistic outlook for the future of oil and gas despite worries over rising demand to align his business with the Paris Climate Agreement. Henry argues that prices remain promising due to a lack of industry-wide investment.
BHP’s petroleum business won’t be easy to say goodbye to. Forecasted to generate around 6% of profits during the ongoing financial year (US$2bn), and around US$1.6bn revenue produced by BHP petroleum in the six months leading to December 2020, BHP is due to take a hit no matter what agreement they choose.
On the other hand, distancing itself from thermal coal and petroleum would arguably aid the company’s case to possible - and valuable - investors who may be required to fund BHP’s increased output to places such as Australia and Mexico in the near future.
BHP considers cutting billion-dollar contract to aid climate
An exit away from petroleum has the potential to be “a powerful corporate catalyst,” says Dominic Kane, Analyst at JP Morgan.
“We believe an exit would likely ring-fence BHP’s exceptional cash flows for non-fossil fuel organic growth, mergers and acquisitions and generous shareholder distributions since BHP could avoid a major new capital investment phase this decade in petroleum.”
BHP is also set to sanction a giant US$5.7bn Canadian potash mine in August of this year, already seeing potash as a long-term substitute for gas and oil going into the future. The company has also previously announced plans to abandon its 80% share in its joint endeavour with Mitsui, owner of two lower-quality mines in Queensland, Australia.
BHP is scheduled to report its annual results on August 17, after which it may become clearer on whether the company will choose to focus its shift to a low-carbon economy or whether it will stay with its current contract into the coming year.