Report documents ‘degrading’ treatment of Indigenous women at Yukon and B.C. mines – by Julien Gignac (CBC News Canada North – August 4, 2021)

She had a ritual that involved loading and reloading a shotgun in front of a group of men. The message seemed clear enough: Stay away.

“I would sleep with it right next to my bed, sometimes right in the bed next to me, and I’d have my bear spray right there, too,” said the unidentified woman who is quoted in a new report documenting the experiences of Indigenous women and women of colour at mining camps in Yukon and Northern B.C.

The report, titled “Never Until Now,” was commissioned by the non-profit Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society. It suggests that women are often assigned low-paying, menial jobs at mines because of their gender — and it’s those very roles that often compromise their personal safety.

Read more

Inuit women experiencing harassment, lower pay at Canadian mine sites, report says – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 31, 2021)

More than half of Inuit women surveyed by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada in a report funded by the federal government said they have been sexually harassed at mining sites in Canada’s Far North.

According to the report released on Wednesday by Pauktuutit, a national non-profit Inuit women’s advocacy organization, the most frequent harassment incidents directed at Inuit women were “sexual comments, jokes, unwanted touching and emotional abuse.”

Some of the Inuit reported being the subject of sexual violence as frequently as every shift. Some reported feeling particularly vulnerable because they worked in housekeeping and janitorial positions that often placed them in private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Read more

Discrimination in the mining business is real, but there’s good news, too. Just ask these four industry veterans – by Nick Rockel (BC Business – January 27, 2021)

At a recent Association for Mineral Exploration panel on diversity and inclusion, the guests shared some horror stories—and agreed that things are changing for the better

Moderator Kendra Johnston didn’t mince words when she kicked off a recent panel discussion.

Johnston, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration, explained that she looked for midcareer geologists and mining engineers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to join A Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion in Mineral Exploration, part of last week’s AME Remote Roundup conference.

“It felt a little bit odd to be out there searching for a Black geologist,” she admitted to panellist John Antwi, who is from Ghana. Finding one in North America was no easy task, Johnston added, noting that Antwi is actually a mining engineer.

“What are your comments on that, knowing that you are here because you have a really important value-add to the conversation, but you’re also here because you’re Black?”

Read more

Prospector’s wealth was her heart of gold – by Susanna McLeod (Kingston Whig Standard – December 31, 2020)

Adventure takes on many forms. It could be jungle escapes, ziplining or maybe sailing ocean waves. Ellen (Nellie) Cashman’s life was an adventure into gold rushes, establishing businesses, and grubstaking prospectors.

Her work included philanthropy, especially where miners were concerned. A single woman, she earned the respect of stampeders and adoration from the causes she supported.

Cashman took a circuitous route to Canada. When a teenager, Cashman (born circa 1845) immigrated to Boston in about 1860 with her sister and widowed mother. The women were part of a Catholic Irish migration wave searching for a better life.

Read more

Sudbury mining execs recognized in book of global sector safety leaders Alicia Woods and Jody Kuzenko named Global Inspirational Women in Mining – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 19, 2020)

A pair of mining executives from Sudbury has been included in the 2020 edition of the book 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining.

Alicia Woods, founder and president of Covergalls, and Jody Kuzenko, president and CEO of Torex Gold Resources, have been recognized among 100 women from around the globe whose contributions are working toward a “stronger, safer and more sustainable mining industry.”

“Having visible role models is critical if we are going to attract and retain more women to help solve the challenges of global development and the responsible supply of resources for future generations,” said Carole Cable, chair of Women in Mining UK, in a Nov. 19 news release.

Read more

Argo Gold: Reviving an old Gold Mining Camp – by Judy Baker and Deio Tortosa (Ontario Prospector – Fall 2019)

Judy Baker is President and CEO of Argo Gold and Delio Tortosa is a geological consultant.

After a 25-year lag in gold exploration in the Uchi Gold Camp, Argo Gold Inc. has been reviving exploration discovery interest in the ‘shadow of the headframe’ south of the historical Uchi Gold Mine with its high-grade Uchi Gold Project in Northwestern Ontario.

During the mid-1930s to the early 1940s, four gold mines were developed by Uchi Mines Ltd. under the direction of Jack Hammel, a well known mine developer in the Red Lake area. The gold mines are in the southeast end of the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt, about 100 km east of the prolific Red Lake Greenstone Belt.

Argo Gold’s Uchi Gold Project of 22 square kilometers of 100% owned claims is the highly prospective, yet relatively unexplored ground immediately south and on trend with the historical mines.

Read more

Nunavut Mining: From pickups to bulldozers and haul trucks, Ola Arnaquq has learned to operate massive vehicles – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – March 30, 2020)

Front Page

Sometimes at 5:30 a.m. sometimes at 5:30 p.m., Ola Arnaquq climbs up into giant bulldozers to begin her 12-hour shift at the Mary River iron mine, 160 km south of Pond Inlet. She’s also capable of operating massive rock trucks and haul trucks.

“I was in awe of (these vehicles) and knew as soon as I saw one on site that I’d love to learn to run them,” says Arnaquq, who has been working at the mine for six years. “(It’s) different getting into the seat of one for sure, a bit tense to start but it got easier. Seat time is what helps confidence with operating equipment. Remembering how that feels definitely helps coaching newcomers.”

Prior to starting work with Baffinland Iron Mines, the largest vehicle Arnaquq had ever driven was a pickup truck. Beyond size, the biggest difference between driving a pickup and operating a bulldozer or a haul truck is the elaborate safety precautions for the latter, she says.

Read more

Lucara’s Eira Thomas has a knack for finding huge diamond reserves. Now she want to disrupt the industry – by Alanna Mithell (Globe and Mail/ROB Magazine – March 27, 2020)

‘What started out as a treasure hunt is now much more about how we make a lasting contribution to the communities we are working with,’ the CEO and geologist says

Eira Thomas is on the run. The annual results for her company, Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp., are coming out in 11 days, and as its co-founder and chief executive, she is prepping for a round of board meetings and earnings presentations, including dashes to both Florida and Toronto for mining conferences.

Before that, she’s heading from her home in England to Morocco on a half-term school break with her two daughters. Plus, she’s experiencing such wretched technical glitches that she missed a Skype interview yesterday and had to rebook. Today, she apologetically comes on 24 minutes late, something so uncharacteristic that her personal assistant, who is in Zurich, has begun to worry. Life is a little frenetic, Thomas confesses.

Yet, when I ask her why diamonds hold such an allure, all of a sudden, the busy executive life seems to vanish. She savours her answer—and when it comes, it’s unexpected. Yes, there’s the thrill of the hunt. But she is a geologist, and so within the diamond she also reads the violent secrets of the inner Earth that created it billions of years ago, when the planet was much younger.

Read more

THE DRIFT 2020: Employment program prepares Indigenous women for workforce – by Colleen Romaniuk (Northern Ontario Business – February 28, 2020)

Traditional employment programs focus a lot of time and resources on technical training and job search skills. While those things are integral to getting women into the workforce in non-traditional roles, sometimes it’s not enough.

Aboriginal Women in Mining (AWIM), a program run by the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group in Kirkland Lake, has developed a more holistic approach. Their curriculum, which teaches culture, confidence, and competence, has been eight years in the making.

Developed in 2011 by Ann Batisse, an Indigenous mentor and founder of the Native Women’s Support Group, the program trains Indigenous women to enter the workforce. AWIM teaches traditional knowledge and values and nurtures industry partnerships to encourage success.

Read more

Driving trucks, blasting rocks – Women break the mold at Burkina Faso gold mines – by Henry Wilkins (Reuters U.S. – March 4, 2020)

HOUNDE, Burkina Faso (Reuters) – Tene Konate takes pride in telling incredulous relatives about her job driving a 72-tonne dump truck around the vast open pit at the Hounde gold mine in western Burkina Faso.

The 42-year-old single mother is one of 111 women at the mine, many trained for jobs that would more traditionally be done by men in West Africa: hauling rubble, blasting rocks, or driving heavy vehicles.

Konate and her female colleagues are the beneficiaries of a global push by mining companies to bring more women into an industry that has lagged behind others in tackling gender imbalances. They remain firmly in the minority however: women make up just 11% of the workforce at Hounde, which is run by Canada’s Endeavour Mining.

Read more

THE WOMAN SHAKING UP THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY – by Ed Caesar (The New Yorker Magazine – January 27, 2020)

Eira Thomas’s company has used radical new methods to find some of the biggest uncut gems in history.

At the Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana, the most highly secured section of the compound is known as the Red Zone. This is where the gems are sorted. To enter, you must walk, alone, through a sequence of thick doors activated by fingerprint scans. Inside, there are strict rules. You cannot touch another human being. Everyone must wear a blue, pocketless smock. Phones are not allowed.

In September, when I visited Karowe, I was given special dispensation to carry a notebook and a pen into the Red Zone. I was told that if I dropped my things I should bend down slowly to retrieve them, then stand up and show the recovered items to the nearest camera. On leaving the Red Zone, everyone, including chief executives, is strip-searched.

Nobody in the Red Zone ever touches a diamond with a naked hand. There are two sorting rooms, in which workers organize the mine’s produce by size and shape, using gloves affixed to sealed and glass-fronted cabinets. 

Read more

A tectonic shift 45 years in the making: A fond farewell as retirement looms – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – October 1, 2019)

It is time for me to retire. I was 25 when CMJ hired me; now I am turning 70 on Nov. 4, and I have chosen the end of that month to call a halt. Forty-five years seems like a good run as an observer of an industry I am passionate about and that has become a large part of my life. While retirement is a tectonic shift for me, I’m sure our geologist friends won’t be offering new theories about continental drift.

The first mine I visited was Sidbec Normines iron mine near Fermont, Que. It has come and gone, and iron ore production is coming back to that corner of the world. The first time I went to Saskatchewan I was underground at the Main mine in Flin Flon, Man. The first gold mine I visited was the old McIntyre mine in Schumacher, Ont.… I’m dating myself.

Some of our loyal readers probably weren’t born when I took up the pen – later to be computer. For those old enough to remember back to the mid-’70s, they will recall that women in mining were a novelty.

Read more

INCO trailblazer and champion of women’s rights tells her story in new memoir – by Colleen Romaniuk (Northern Ontario Business – October 17, 2019)

Cathy Mulroy has always understood that well-behaved women seldom make history. In 1974, after becoming one of the first women hired in a non-traditional role at INCO since the Second World War, the Sudbury native, who stood at 5 feet 1 inch and weighed 105 pounds, was quickly labelled a troublemaker.

As a 19-year-old mother stuck in a toxic marriage, Mulroy signed up to work in the copper refinery in the anode department casting molten metal copper with the hope of earning enough to become financially independent.

She was often found guilty for the crime of sticking up for herself, and in Mulroy’s own words, she “never put up with crap.” Years later, after Mulroy retired, she decided to write a book about her experience using all the material she accumulated over the years. Mulroy documented everything, writing on cigarette packs, paper towels, and in diaries, collecting newspaper clippings, and more.

Read more

A woman’s view of Inco – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

In 1974, Inco started hiring women for the first time since the end of the Second World War. Cathy Mulroy, then 19, was the second woman in line for a job. Now, she’s written a book about her experiences.

Mulroy worked on the anode casting wheel in the copper refinery. Her job was to empty the molten metal arriving in hot cars from the smelter, into the furnace. It was hot, grimy work, but for Mulroy, the labour wasn’t the difficult part of her experience.

“Over the years, I was kind of a person who believed in people’s rights,” she says. “I was never quiet. So right off the bat, I started getting into trouble.”

Read more

The US head of the world’s largest diamond miner says its sustainability plan isn’t just good for the planet, it’s the future of its business – by Richard Feloni (Business Insider – May 2019)

Despite its position as the world’s largest diamond miner by volume, Alrosa is not a well-known name in the United States, the world’s largest diamond market. Rebecca Foerster, head of the company’s North American division, is on a mission to change that — and she says Alrosa’s sustainability initatives are key.

“Alrosa, as a pure-play mined diamond company, is one of the few companies that can, without question, guarantee the chain of custody and the provenance of the diamonds that they mine,” Foerster told Business Insider.

Alrosa is a publicly traded company whose majority shareholders are Russia’s federal and regional governments, but Foerster said that she’s not concerned with politics when it comes to the brand, given that the company’s mines in Siberia are among the world’s most sustainable.

Read more