Inclusion in the mining industry at the time of disruption. Panel members from @RioTinto @ICMM_com @BCGDV and HS1 Ltd.

By Rahul Joglekar, London

What impact does disruption have on inclusion? Does it accelerate the pace of change or slow it down? And can we use a crisis to recommit ourselves to the cause of inclusion? Panellists on the Young Mining Professionals (YMP) dealt with these questions and more during a recent webinar.

A webinar about inclusion and diversity moderated by Catriona Beadel, Founder of Young Mining Professionals (YMP) with a panel of experts from the industry

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin once said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” He was probably talking about the Russian Revolution, but the quote captures the pace of disruption during times like these.

Capturing the essence of how dramatic that change has been, Catriona Beadel, Founder of Young Mining Professionals (YMP) and moderator for the webinar, called it – BC (Before COVID-19) and AD (After Disruption).

Arnaud Soirat, Chief Executive, Copper & Diamonds at Rio Tinto set the tone for the webinar talking about inclusion and what it means for the sector today.

A short video with thoughts from all the main speakers

Do you feel included?

After brief introductions, panellists took a moment to consider what Bold Baatar, Chief Executive, Energy & Minerals, Rio Tinto, said about inclusion. Inclusion is about a feeling. Either you feel included or you don’t. And Rio Tinto tries hard to make teams feel included – even during times of great disruption. Bold pushed the audience to think about the opportunities to learn from this crisis.

Arnaud exhorted everyone to consider closely the journey we’ve all been on. From impossible to possible and from long time frames to immediate action. The audience was asked if these learnings could be used in the area of inclusion.

Tom Butler, CEO of International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), reflected on the need for diversity in the sector. He said, “Addressing inclusion and diversity is a critical issue for the mining industry, and significant progress has been made. However, there remains more that can be done and through ICMM’s enhanced membership requirements – our Mining Principles – our members commit to a number of performance expectations that speak directly to the importance of diversity and inclusion.” You can read ICMM’s Mining Principles here.

Danielle Ullner, Partner & Managing Director, BCG Digital Ventures, struck a positive note. She spoke about how C19 has been, a catalyst for companies to embrace digital collaboration tools—such as Slack, Trello and Zoom— and implement more effective remote ways of working across teams.  But she noted that the story of how C19 will affect the future of work is still being written.  

On the road to inclusion

Lucy Clarke-Bodicoat, General Counsel and Corporate Services Director, HS1 Ltd brought a fresh perspective from a different industry that is ‘on track’ to embracing inclusion. HS1 is helmed by three women and three men (of which Lucy is one).  

When asked what is the “secret sauce” to diversity and inclusion, Lucy said that at HS1 Ltd, they look to recruit the best people from the most diverse candidate pool out there.

“There’s been a history I’ve seen over many years gone by of women sometimes being held back by other women who feel threatened by them coming up through the organisation.” However, that’s not needed. Lucy said, “if you can see a talented woman when you are in a leadership role, embrace that and help them develop their career.”

Riffing off that thought Danielle said that once women and other diverse talent has been recruited, that’s really just the beginning. To increase the likelihood of ongoing success companies must have a diverse leadership team in terms of the national origin of executives, range of industry backgrounds, gender, and career progression.

Tom reflected on diversity and inclusion and the difference it makes to productivity. “We know that diverse teams are more effective. I believe ICMM members and other responsible mining companies around the world are committed to and realise the value of having a diverse workplace to achieve this.”

Real life experience

Bold also reflected on global roles within organisations going forward. He asked if roles that needed for executives to travel and work with many local teams would be possible in a world where travelling was restricted.

Then it was time for a few questions. Around effective and quick management of the crisis, Arnaud spoke passionately about response time and ensuring safety at site level.

On the story of where the sector goes from here post C19, Tom said, “We have seen that those companies with a strong ESG focus – including ICMM members – have been amongst the quickest to react and adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances. This adaptation will set them up well as they transition into return to work and recovery phases.”

This author asked a question about the ‘death of the office’ to which Danielle said, “right now, companies need to focus on restarting work safely.  For many organisations, it is a critical time to infuse new (and digitally accelerated) ways of working.”

Carole Cable, from Women in Mining (UK) concluded the session with an announcement about WIM’s events and internship programmes.

This panel discussion was originally scheduled for March in London. Instead it was held as a webinar in May. Three hundred delegates attended. YMP members aren’t just adaptable – but lead by example.

Catriona Beadel moderated this webinar held online via Zoom. You can send her any questions you may have at: london@youngminingprofessionals.com.

(Rahul Joglekar runs Commuro Digital – a multimedia communication agency focussed on telling great stories from the mining sector – in video, text and audio. You can email us at: admin@melantra.co.uk)

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