29 March Women in mining March 29, 2021 By Sally Parker General, Industry, Mining Mining, InternationalWomensDay 0 International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 across the world. To coincide with this, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) surveyed over 500 people who work in resources to better understand how women experience work in the mining industry, and the results were surprising. According to the survey, approximately 75% of women working in the resources sector earn more than the average female Australian salary (Workforce Gender Equality Agency 2021). They also have a high qualification rate, with 92% of respondents holding at least one university degree. The survey also found that more than half (55%) of respondents view their workplace as “very diverse” or “average” compared to 35% in the resources sector. Women in mining were also 3.3 times more likely to indicate that their workplace had a “very inclusive” culture compared to those in the resources sector. It should however be noted that the level of perceived inclusiveness was still less than 30%, indicating that there is still considerable work to be done. According to the survey, there has been improvement in several areas over the past year including: ● There has been an increase in retention with a 5% increase from last year in the number of women who have worked in the sector for between five and 10 years. ● There has been relative stability in the level of female mining unemployment despite the impact of COVID-19 on the broader economy and unemployment rates. ● Similarly, the level of FIFO and DIDO roles also remained relatively stable despite the travel restrictions in place for much of last year. This is particularly important as on-site experience is considered to be of importance particularly for those in technical professions. One of the key areas identified as an opportunity for professional development was leadership, with 55% of respondents highlighting it as a priority. The ability to adapt to a changing industry, innovation and the development of transferable skill sets were all highlighted as areas of interest for leadership focus, while demand for mentoring and coaching was also high. Other priorities included the need to create equal employment opportunities, supporting career progression and focusing on recruitment and retention. For the first time, the report asked for views on issues of equity. Only 47% of respondents indicated that work is valued for its quality rather than gender, while just 40% believe remuneration is equitable across the genders. These figures were less favourable for women in FIFO and DIDO roles, indicating significant work is still to be done to address issues of equity. Other opportunities for improvement included workplace flexibility, wellbeing and work life balance, particularly for those who work on-site or in technical roles. Qualitative responses indicated that onsite rosters and work schedules were largely incompatible with commitments outside the workplace. Improving operational flexibility will not only support female workers but also boost retention and career progression. Some other specific areas for improvement for health and wellbeing that were highlighted include offering recreational options beyond the gymnasium and mess hall such as social activity spaces and increased internet connectivity. While focusing on health care services onsite to support women’s health, wellbeing and mental health was also emphasised. The report will inform both industry and government, so that they can better identify and improve the needs of women in the mining industry and will be used to determine how to better attract, retain and encourage more women to join the industry. It also helps determine how to better foster a culture of inclusiveness and foster innovation in the industry to better leverage the female talent pool in the industry. Related Articles COMMUNITY LEGAL RIGHTS IN MINE CLOSURE PLANNING; A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE AUSTRALIAN STATES Professor Alex Gardner, University of Western Australia Law School, and Laura Hamblin, formerly research associate at the UWA Law School, 2021 Why does the Mining Act 1978 (WA) not provide secure legal rights for community consultation in relation to mining lease proposals and mine closure plans? Addressing this question presents an important theme for this comparative review of some core features of the regulatory frameworks for mine closure in three Australian States. It also raises important questions for future legal research. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria have prominent but vastly different, and thus uniquely significant, mining industries. Western Australia’s mining industry has a long history of large and smaller scale mining of a diverse range of minerals by various methods that pose significant mine rehabilitation challenges.[i] Queensland’s mining industry is similarly large and diverse, dominated by export coal production, and planning future minerals development in a decarbonising world.[ii] Victoria has a smaller mining industry with a large historical legacy dominated by a coal mining industry for domestic electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, which is closing as the State actively transitions to renewable power sources.[iii] These States also have significant differences in the regulation of their mining industries. What all three States do have in common is the significance of their mining industries to both the State economy and the communities who depend on or live near mining operations. Importantly, all three States are confronting large legal and regulatory challenges in managing mine rehabilitation and closure. The key to addressing these challenges is effective mine closure planning: the closure of a mine site has ripple effects that are not merely environmental and economic, but social and cultural too. The initial approval of a mine closure plan occurs before any mining has begun and, with the life cycle of a mine often spanning decades, regulatory bodies are approving hypothetical closure scenarios, potentially subject to vast changes. Regulatory bodies may then seek to enforce closure requirements enshrined in a plan that may wane in relevance as mining operations progress, the updating of which may depend on the miner. Yet remedying the regulatory system so that it creates adaptable but consistently effective mine closure outcomes for affected communities still begins at planning. Although that planning is an iterative process across the life of the mine, it is very important at the initial stage of approval. Recent legislative reforms in all three States are adding to the regulatory rigour and adaptability of mine closure planning, though there are very different legal requirements for community consultation. This article aims to explain and assess the regulatory reforms by undertaking a comparative analysis of mine closure planning across Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, with a focus on the initial approval stage and how stakeholders and communities are brought into that process. The facilitation of continuous and comprehensive community engagement is critical to ensuring that mine closure planning accounts for environmental, economic, social, cultural and safety outcomes after mine closure, but it has not been possible to consider here the process of ongoing mine closure planning, especially for amending mine closure plans and determining satisfaction of mine closure plans leading to resource tenure relinquishment.[iv] The article begins by considering core concepts of mine closure planning and the regulatory goals that inform it. It then provides a comparative overview of each State’s mine closure planning requirements under the mineral resources, environmental and land use planning laws and draws out some of the different regulatory structures and processes for mine closure within each State. The third step in our analysis compares the ways in which those laws provide for local communities’ participation in mine closure planning, with specific attention to whether the regulatory provisions create legally enforceable rights for effective community engagement. The article concludes with a summary of the key points from the discussion of three themes in our analysis: (i) the importance of clear definitions of core concepts and key goals, (ii) mine closure planning as an essential part of a mining proposal, and (iii) the legal definition of community engagement and consultation rights. Mine closure planning and implementation is necessarily influenced by many other spheres of law including taxation law, investment law, water law, and the rights of traditional owners, to name a few. A potentially directly relevant Commonwealth law is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), which may require environmental impact assessment of a mining proposal and closure plan and lead to approval conditions supplementing State requirements.[v] Whilst acknowledging the importance of these adjacent spheres of the regulatory frameworks for effective mine closure planning, this article does not attempt to address their impact. In particular, the rights of Traditional Custodians are a crucial part of mine closure planning that are only briefly noted here and that would benefit from future research. WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Major Commodities Review 2022-23”. Qld Government, Department of Resources, Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, June 022. Vic Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy. See L Hamblin, A Gardner, Y Haigh, Mapping the Regulatory Framework of Mine Closure, May 2022, CRC TiME, for a broader exploration of the full life cycle of mine closure regulation. In Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities  FCAFC 111; (2013) 214 FCR 301, , -, referring to the range of approval conditions, which included mine closure. In setting conditions under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth Minister must consider any relevant conditions under State or Territory law: at  citing Lansen v Minister for Environment and Heritage (2008) 174 FCR 14. Digital transformation in mining and energy As the global shift to remote work gathers pace, it is more important than ever that the mining and energy sector embraces technology. But a digital transformation offers more than flexible working arrangements. It has the potential to drastically cut down on industrial accidents, optimise operational processes and slash costs. How COVID-19 could change mining for the better The mining industry was deemed an essential service by the Government, which has enabled it to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this hasn’t been without its challenges. New processes and procedures were required to address safety and social distancing and issues of supply and worker mobility have impacted how the industry operates. But with adversity comes opportunity and the mining industry has thrived and realised the potential for new improvements amidst the pandemic. New innovations in mining What is concerning mining and metals industry executives today? Recent surveys conducted in the mining and metals industry sector indicate that climate change, price volatility and the risk of a global depression are the top concerns for executives. The KMPG Mining Risk Forecast 2020/21 Report nominates climate change and price risks as top-of-mind for executives while a mid-year survey by White & Case found that the fear of a global recession was the most common concern amongst those surveyed. It’s worth noting that the KMPG survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the concerns raised have ongoing relevance both now and into the future. The Jurisdiction of Wardens under the Mining Act 1978 (WA) Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.