LANXESS Sup­ports Women in Min­ing

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text & Im­age © Sup­plied

Min­ing is an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to the South African econ­omy, and has a rich his­tory, which has shaped much of our eco­nomic land­scape. How­ever, it still re­mains a male dom­i­nated in­dus­try, which presents a range of chal­lenges for women. While much still needs to be done to ad­dress these is­sues, the De­part­ment of Min­eral Re­sources (DMR) has ini­ti­ated pro­grammes that ac­tively sup­port and pro­mote the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in the min­ing in­dus­try.

Women in Min­ing South Africa (WIMSA) es­tab­lished a fo­rum to pro­vide women in min­ing with the sup­port and guid­ance for per­sonal growth, lead­er­ship, and ca­reer de­vel­op­ment by build­ing re­la­tion­ships with the min­ing com­pa­nies and the DMR. As one of the WIMSA mem­bers, LANXESS Chrome Min­ing (Pty) Ltd. (the Mine) ad­dressed the var­i­ous con­cerns of their fe­male em­ploy­ees and the chal­lenges they face, seek­ing the best so­lu­tions to ad­dress these is­sues. This in­cluded the de­vel­op­ment of women in crit­i­cal po­si­tions, ap­pro­pri­ate Per­sonal Pro­tec­tive Equip­ment (PPE) for women, as well as per­sonal safety while work­ing and trav­el­ling un­der­ground alone. Pos­i­tive out­comes through in­vest­ments made by the Mine com­prise the im­ple­men­ta­tion of safety mea­sures and work­ing con­di­tions that sup­port women in min­ing, in­clud­ing the for­mu­la­tion of The LANXESS Women in Min­ing (WIM) Fo­rum.

Ruth Kgantsi, Chair­per­son of the WIM Fo­rum at the Mine, ex­plained that the pur­pose of the fo­rum is to en­able women work­ing at the Mine to act as pos­i­tive agents of change in the min­ing in­dus­try. “The fo­rum helped cre­ate an em­pow­er­ing net­work and en­vi­ron­ment to in­spire, sup­port and de­velop the pro­gres­sion of women in min­ing through pro­vid­ing ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion skills de­vel­op­ment, men­tor­ship and rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

The Mine has iden­ti­fied as­pects of equip­ment and Per­sonal Pro­tec­tive Equip­ment (PPE) best suited for fe­males, the Buddy Sys­tem, that en­sures no wo­man works or trav­els alone un­der­ground. The mine has also im­ple­mented new, DMR ap­proved, un­der­ground san­i­ta­tion meth­ods and toi­lets, which makes it more com­fort­able and more hy­gienic for women un­der­ground. Hu­man Re­source is busy with the draft­ing of in­di­vid­ual de­vel­op­ment plans, as part of the Skills De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme.

“His­tor­i­cally, women were em­ployed at mines in sup­port po­si­tions, like hu­man re­sources and of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tion, how­ever this is chang­ing. They are now part of the un­der­ground min­ing team at the rock face and mainly take care of elec­tri­cal main­te­nance. These women play an in­te­gral part of the day-to-day func­tions of the Mine,” ex­plains Kgantsi.

LANXESS has 143 women work­ing on the mine, which equates to 20% fe­male staff rep­re­sen­ta­tion. “Women have a dif­fer­ent and unique way of prob­lem-solv­ing that en­com­passes a prac­ti­cal ap­proach and con­sid­er­a­tion of all par­ties in­volved. Our ef­forts are made to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women, look­ing to give more op­por­tu­ni­ties for ca­reer growth and de­vel­op­ment in the min­ing in­dus­try,” con­cluded Kgantsi.

For women to make an im­pact in the min­ing in­dus­try, it is im­per­a­tive that the in­dus­try and all its sup­port sec­tors in­clud­ing govern­ment and clients, revalue their ap­proach and com­mit­ment to achiev­ing this par­tic­u­larly mean­ing­ful em­pow­er­ment.

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