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Women in Mining vital for meeting our future skills needs of Mining in Canada

Nov 14, 2021

PureGold photo: Jillian Christmann and Erin Wilson

Women have always played a part in Canadian mining. Pioneering miners like Kathleen Rice and Viola MacMillan being two who trailblazed women’s participation in mining and minerals exploration and operations.

Today there are many more women participating in the mining labour force as mining companies seek to expand their labour pool by encouraging women and indigenous members to embrace mining as a career.
Women comprise 51 percent of Canada’s population and 48 percent of the overall labour force. Women are underrepresented in the mining labour force with only 15 percent employed.
Women In Mining Northwestern Ontario (WMNWO) is part of a network across Canada that strives to provide a supportive network that promotes the advancement of women in their mineral and mining careers.  WMNWO supports exploration and mining development in the region.
They also support women in mining who want to live and work in a safe environment that is free of harassment and are enthusiastic about working with industry and communities to raise awareness of challenges faced by women and advocate for diversity.
Erin Wilson P. Geo, Chief Mine Geologist, with Pure Gold in Red Lake, Ontario is one of today’s women in mining.
“We’re very proud of the dedicated and incredibly talented team we have built at Pure Gold Mining. Meet Erin Wilson, Chief Mine Geologist at the Pure Gold Mine, located in the very heart of Red Lake Ontario,” Pure Gold tweeted on October 7, 2021
Erin Wilson works as a Chief Mine Geologist at Pure Gold Mining, which has an estimated 245 employees; and was founded in 2005. Erin is currently based in Vancouver, Canada. And is a graduate of University of Victoria. Previously Wilson worked with Goldcorp (now Newmont Goldcorp) as lead production geologist, 2007-2020. She also worked at ValGold Resources as a project geologist, 2003-2006.
That is quite an accomplishment for Erin Wilson and women in mining generally.  In April 6, 2021, Pure Gold posted a tweet featuring Erin Wilson and geologist Jillian Christmann to announce a successful conclusion to a drilling program headed by Wilson.
The tweet received many likes and favourable comments. Women in mining have progressed over the last decade, but there is still a long way to go andthere is still a need for organizations like WMNWO  who play a vital role in supporting women who work in mining.
As demographic diversity increased, Women in Mining branches independently formed across Canada. The synergies between branches have empowered women to get more involved. In recent years, combined efforts from coast to coast have showcased the generosity and social responsibility of the exploration and mining industry. Each branch is unique and many hold monthly meetings featuring guest speakers, with a focus on networking.

Women in Mining North Western Ontario partners with Industry to offer 4 scholorships to women
WMNWO strives to Increase the number of women working at all levels of the mining industry and inspire young women to consider a career in the minerals and mining sector. It also encourages continued education, personal and professional development for women in the mining industry and offer opportunities to enhance their leadership and communication skills. They do so through programs like their annual scholarship program. Each October, they offer four scholarships to women who want to study mining and mineral development.
Supporting the work of Women in Mining, The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) is also supporting and encouraging diversity in the mining labour force by launching a program to encourage women, indigenous peoples and immigrants to overcome barriers and enter the mining sector.
At the educational level, Women in Mining chapters have also opened up at Canada’s schools of mining. During the summer of 2014, geology students Felicia Da Silva and Rachel Jongsma co-founded the University of Toronto’s first Women in Mining Student Chapter, creating a platform for women in the school’s Rotman Commerce, Mineral Engineering and Geoscience programs to learn about the various facets of mining and provide the resources required to excel in the industry.
Queen’s University Women in Mining Chapter was honoured when in 2019, Heather Jamieson, a professor and researcher in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, at Queen’s University received the 2019 Rick Hutson Mentorship Award winner from Women in Mining Canada (WIMC).
Building on the example set by Women in Mining in Canada, Women in Mining chapters are now emerging in many mining jurisdictions globally. For example, Women in Mining Chile, Women in Mining Queensland, Women in Mining South Africa and Women in Mining USA.
For more information you can visit their website www.wimnwo.com

For this article and more click on the front cover link of Mining Life Magazine

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