Women di­rec­tors?

Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS -

Ar e c ent s u r v e y of 50 0 min­ing com­pa­nies by UK or­gan­i­sa­tion Women in Min­ing found that only 7.9% of to­tal board mem­bers were women, re­in­forc­ing t he com­mon per­cep­tion that ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries are stuck in the dark ages.

Of the top 100 com­pa­nies sur­veyed, with a value of $1.28tr (R14.6tr) out of to­tal $1.46tr (R16.6tr) worth of firms cov­ered in the study, women com­prised 11.1% of to­tal board mem­bers, which rep­re­sents a measly 3.1% in­crease in three years.

This i s de­spite a claim i n t he study that fail­ing to have suff icient women on your board rep­re­sents bad busi­ness. Women i n Min­ing said that per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors, such as re­turn on cap­i­tal em­ployed, is ac­tu­ally bet­ter when there is fe­male board rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

South African min­ing, how­ever, com­pares f avourably against it s in­ter­na­tional peer group.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­sites of the JSE’s top 11 min­ing com­pa­nies, there are some 30 women serv­ing as di­rec­tors, equal to 23% of all board po­si­tions (130). In some cases, women con­trol ex­ec­u­tive roles as well, such as Christine Ra­mon, who is CFO for An­gloGold Ashanti.

Th­ese 30 women in­clude Glen­core’s re­cently ap­pointed fe­male direc­tor Pa­trice Merrin, whose ar­rival at the Swiss min­er­als and trad­ing group seven months ago ended the last of the FTSE 100 In­dex’s all-male boards.

It ’s not just Glen­core, how­ever, that could do more to ap­point women. Sur­pris­ingly, Exxaro Re­sources has only one fe­male direc­tor while an­other em­pow­er­ment group, African Rain­bow Min­er­als, has only t wo fe­male di­rec­tors out of 14 board seats – the largest di­rec­torate of the SA com­pa­nies stud­ied by Finweek.

Mike Teke, pres­i­dent of t he Cham­ber of Mines, c om­ments that it ’s no sur­prise that boards on which women serve per­form bet­ter i n busi­ness, but l i nks t his to t he im­por­tance of es­tab­lish­ing di­ver­sity. “We shouldn’t stop this con­ver­sa­tion, though; we need to get bet­ter and trans­form more,” he says.

Im­pala Plat­inum leads the way, in­ci­den­tally. Of its 12-strong board, nearly half – f i ve i n tota l – a re women. Roughly a quar­ter of the boards of An­glo Amer­i­can and its listed-sub­sidiary com­pa­nies con­sist of women, although mostly in nonex­ec­u­tive roles.

‘Bawdy ban­ter’ and the ‘ boys’ club’ cul­ture were seen by the Women in Min­ing sur­vey to be one of the ma­jor in­hibitors to ap­point­ing women to min­ing com­pany boards, but there are other less sin­is­ter fac­tors at work as well.

“The most com­mon de­grees for fe­male di­rec­tors on min­ing boards are f inance and eco­nomics with the most of the men hold­ing min­ing and en­gi­neer­ing de­grees,” said Ca­role Fer­gu­son, an an­a­lyst for Nu­mis Se­cu­ri­ties in the UK.

“Some would ar­gue that is one of the main rea­sons there are not enough women on the board, par­tic­u­larly in ex­ec­u­tive roles. Ar­guably women with en­gi­neer­ing de­grees who are tal­ented have choices and min­ing may not be their top pick,” Fer­gu­son said.

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