You Don’t Have to Dig a Mine to Run One, Female Leaders Say – by Danielle Bochove and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – May 3, 2018)

Eira Thomas has discovered diamonds in the far north, co-founded mining companies and sat on a dozen boards — including Canada’s most valuable energy company.

So the 49-year-old was a little taken aback when an investor recently suggested she needed to hire an engineer as chief operating officer to back her up in the executive suite. She was, after all, only a geologist.

“I’m 30 years in this business,” said Thomas, who took over as chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp. in February. “I’ve been involved in multiple projects that have gone on to become mines. I sit on the board of Suncor. And I just wonder if a male, newly appointed CEO with the same credentials, would have faced the same commentary?’’

Therein lies one of the biggest hurdles to getting more women into top jobs in mining: the conviction that leaders need to start out building mines, typically in remote locations, in order to run them.

Drawing women from legal, sustainability or finance departments while finding flexible ways to get them operational experience will be key to attracting the talent the industry needs to thrive, mining leaders such as Thomas say.

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