Mining

  • The growing automation and digitization of mining operations is likely to lead to changes in the size and skills of the mining workforce in both developed and developed countries.
  • Partly as a result of social pressure on mining companies, as well as specific gender-targeted policies based on observed differences in the performance of certain tasks, companies in all sectors increasingly promote inclusive recruitment policies resulting in increased employment of women in mining operations. 
  • Women’s share of total mining employment is expected to rise further in the future due to increased automation and the reduced relevance of physical strength as a requirement for most jobs.
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[1]  Carl Surran, “Randgold cites automation for expected increase in Kibali gold production”, Seeking Alpha, April 2018

[2] Lucy Smithdm, “BHP sets goal for 50% women in workforce”, Daily Mercury, October 21, 2016

 

Key Resources

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Cyclical and Secular Determinants of Productivity in the Copper, Aluminum, Iron Ore, and Coal Industries

This paper examines the perceived decline in mining productivity and suggests the decline could potentially be due to the unanticipated ...

Encyclopedia of Gender and Mining: Key Initiatives, Best Practices and Actors

This resource aims to provide decision makers with information on best practices regarding how to mainstream gender in mining related ...

Managing Through the Cycle: A Strategic Approach to Workforce Planning in the Mining Industry

This report provides some theoretical grounding in workforce planning. A comprehensive discussion on workforce planning in extractives ...

Productivity in Mining: Now Comes the Hard Part

Over sixty interviews with senior mining executives globally were compiled into this comprehensive survey, addressing key productivity ...

Ramp-UP: A Study on the Status of Women in Canada's Mining and Exploration Sector

This report provides wide-ranging employment data collected from hundreds of women at all levels in the mining and exploration sectors. It ...

Industries at a Glance: Mining

The site provides detailed statistics for the US mining industry. The data also holds interest for non-US users mainly because information ...

Topic Briefing

Two recent trends are particularly relevant to policymakers that wish to use the mining sector to increase the quantity and quality of local employment: mining automation; and gender-informed recruiting policies.

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The growing automation and digitization of mining operations is likely to lead to changes in the size and skills of the mining workforce. This trend is not confined to developed countries. For example, Randgold Resources invested more than $2.7B in the underground operation's automated material handling system of its Kibali gold mine in DRC to make it one of Africa’s most automated gold mines. [1]

The second trend is part of a global approach by companies in all sectors to promote inclusive recruitment policies and is resulting in increased employment of women in mining operations. For example, in 2016 BHP announced its commitment to increase the share of women in its workforce to 50 percent by 2025.[2] While this trend is to some extent the result of social pressure on mining companies, it also reflects specific gender targeted policies by mining companies based on observed differences in performance between genders in certain tasks. For example, women tend to be more responsible and careful drivers, and are therefore more and more employed to operate large equipment.

In the future, women’s share of total mining employment may also be boosted by the reduced relevance of physical strength as a requirement for most jobs and increasing automation. Further details on this trend are provided in “Ramp-UP: A Study on the Status of Women in Canada's Mining and Exploration Sector” (page 11) found in the key resources below.

Figure 1: Direct Employment Table reprinted from World Bank, World Development Report 2013: Jobs, (Washington: World Bank, 2012), p.200