At a Glance
- 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.
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.
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. 
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. 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.
- Industries at a Glance: Mining (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Linkages to the Resource Sector: The Role of Companies, Government, and International Development Cooperation (Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ))
- Encyclopedia of Gender and Mining: Key Initiatives, Best Practices and Actors (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
- Ramp-UP: A Study on the Status of Women in Canada's Mining and Exploration Sector (Mining Industry Human Resources Council, Women in Mining Canada)
- Managing Through the Cycle: A Strategic Approach to Workforce Planning in the Mining Industry (Mining Industry Human Resources Council)
- Cyclical and Secular Determinants of Productivity in the Copper, Aluminum, Iron Ore, and Coal Industries (John E. Tilton)
- Productivity in Mining: Now Comes the Hard Part (Ernst and Young, Sustainable Minerals Institute)
- The Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Sector and its Importance for EU Cooperation with Resource-rich Developing and Emerging Countries (Johanna Carstens)
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 ...
This resource aims to provide decision makers with information on best practices regarding how to mainstream gender in mining related ...
Linkages to the Resource Sector: The Role of Companies, Government, and International Development Cooperation
This discussion paper provides a theoretical framework and overview on existing literature relating to the topic of linkages in the resource ...
This report provides some theoretical grounding in workforce planning. A comprehensive discussion on workforce planning in extractives ...
Over sixty interviews with senior mining executives globally were compiled into this comprehensive survey, addressing key productivity ...
This report provides wide-ranging employment data collected from hundreds of women at all levels in the mining and exploration sectors. It ...
The Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Sector and its Importance for EU Cooperation with Resource-rich Developing and Emerging Countries
This brief report provides an overview of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector and its relationship to large-scale mining, ...
The site provides detailed statistics for the US mining industry. The data also holds interest for non-US users mainly because information ...
The aim of this document is to address the challenges faced by resource-rich developing countries in developing their resources in a way ...