Being one of the more controversial sectors of the mining industry, uranium has its fair share of challenges. Perhaps it needs a woman’s touch?

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chair Vanessa Guthrie is well-versed in the area of uranium, having headed junior Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) and served as a director on the board of Vimy Resources (ASX:VMY).

Minerals Council of Australia chair Vanessa Guthrie. Pic: LinkedIn
Minerals Council of Australia chair Vanessa Guthrie. Pic: LinkedIn

Uranium mining has come under heavy scrutiny and faced strong opposition because of the inherent risks associated with digging up the radioactive material.

“Being a woman in the uranium sector presented no greater challenges than being a woman in leadership roles in the resources industry at large,” Guthrie told Stockhead.

“In fact, to some degree, being a woman was an advantage, as the greatest opponents of uranium mining have been women, largely in the 25 to 45-year-old cohort.

“And being a woman made it easier to connect with the concerns raised by other women and respond with authenticity and in a way which resonated.”

 

The proof is in the numbers

According to Guthrie, all of the data points to the fact that more diverse companies with at least 30 per cent women in their senior teams are more productive and successful on every measure of financial performance.

And while the junior end of the market right now is not doing so well at adding more women to their boards, or having women in leadership roles, Guthrie says the mining industry isn’t the worst.

>>READ: Less than 30 small caps have equal representation of women on their boards. There are 1714 small caps

Here’s a list* of ASX small cap miners and oil & gas companies with female directors:

ASX Code Company Market Cap No. of Women No. of Board Members
AX8 ACCELERATE RESOURCES LTD $1,571,460 1 4
AIV ACTIVEX LTD $34,559,540 2 4
ADY ADMIRALTY RESOURCES NL $13,909,616 1 3
AGR AGUIA RESOURCES LTD $18,101,068 1 6
A1C AIC RESOURCES LTD $13,125,000 1 3
ALY ALCHEMY RESOURCES LTD $5,725,454 1 4
AHQ ALLEGIANCE COAL LTD $51,116,544 1 6
ARS ALT RESOURCES LTD $6,469,902 1 4
AXE ARCHER EXPLORATION LTD $15,508,038 1 3
ARL ARDEA RESOURCES LTD $45,111,804 1 3
ADV ARDIDEN LTD $5,044,141 2 4
AXT ARGO EXPLORATION LTD $2,195,640 3 7
AKM ASPIRE MINING LTD $56,551,200 1 7
AYM AUSTRALIA UNITED MINING LTD $3,685,155 1 3
AZM AZUMAH RESOURCES LTD $14,860,909 1 4
BSE BASE RESOURCES LTD $279,989,536 1 7
BAT BATTERY MINERALS LTD $27,679,922 1 6
BCI BCI MINERALS LTD $79,521,784 1 4
BCN BEACON MINERALS LTD $43,136,264 1 3
BNL BIG STAR ENERGY LTD $1,986,000 1 3
BLZ BLAZE INTERNATIONAL LTD $4,410,000 1 3
BOC BOUGAINVILLE COPPER LTD $48,127,500 1 5
B2Y BOUNTY MINING LTD $38,515,032 1 5
BRK BROOKSIDE ENERGY LTD $11,990,662 1 3
BRU BURU ENERGY LTD $138,263,760 1 4
CMM CAPRICORN METALS LTD $82,414,936 1 4
CRB CARBINE RESOURCES LTD $8,389,363 1 3
CXU CAULDRON ENERGY LTD $6,585,794 1 5
CTP CENTRAL PETROLEUM LTD $103,374,992 1 6
CLQ CLEAN TEQ HOLDINGS LTD $205,276,560 2 9
COI COMET RIDGE LTD $218,362,928 1 5
CZL CONSOLIDATED ZINC LTD $15,299,518 1 4
CSV CSG LTD $71,308,904 2 4
CUE CUE ENERGY RESOURCES LTD $45,377,780 1 9
DNK DANAKALI LTD $198,316,800 1 6
DYL DEEP YELLOW LTD $67,433,336 1 6
DME DOME GOLD MINES LTD $54,845,240 1 3
E2M E2 METALS LTD $15,278,086 1 3
EFE EASTERN IRON LTD $1,647,602 1 4
EEG EMPIRE ENERGY GROUP LTD $41,635,516 1 3
ENX ENEGEX LTD $804,997 1 3
EME ENERGY METALS LTD $27,258,830 2 7
ERA ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUST $108,722,264 2 6
ETE ENTEK ENERGY LTD $3,917,832 1 3
EPW ERM POWER LTD $467,830,976 2 7
FZR FITZROY RIVER CORP LTD $16,997,128 1 3
FMS FLINDERS MINES LTD $118,495,784 1 5
FSA FSA GROUP LTD $135,725,488 1 4
GLL GALILEE ENERGY LTD $176,029,904 1 4
GCY GASCOYNE RESOURCES LTD $39,189,732 1 6
GML GATEWAY MINING LTD $12,928,473 1 4
GNX GENEX POWER LTD $76,545,720 1 6
GBE GLOBE METALS AND MINING LTD $6,522,913 1 5
GMR GOLDEN RIM RESOURCES LTD $7,172,988 1 3
GSM GOLDEN STATE MINING LTD $2,175,072 1 6
GRR GRANGE RESOURCES LTD $312,481,440 2 5
GBR GREAT BOULDER RESOURCES LTD $5,304,658 1 4
GSN GREAT SOUTHERN MINING LTD $9,709,195 1 3
GTR GTI RESOURCES LTD $1,953,818 1 3
HNR HANNANS LTD $23,855,454 1 5
HWK HAWKSTONE MINING LTD $16,567,632 1 3
HZR HAZER GROUP LTD $29,178,256 1 5
HFR HIGHFIELD RESOURCES LTD $242,200,880 1 10
HZN HORIZON OIL LTD $149,727,840 1 4
IDA INDIANA RESOURCES LTD $3,179,846 1 3
JRL JINDALEE RESOURCES LTD $11,548,276 1 5
KGM KALNORTH GOLD MINES LTD $3,576,960 1 3
KPC KAZAKHSTAN POTASH CORP LTD $32,400,000 2 8
KEY KEY PETROLEUM LTD $6,197,849 1 6
KGL KGL RESOURCES LTD $71,491,272 1 5
KMT KOPORE METALS LTD $5,712,988 1 3
KRX KOPPAR RESOURCES LTD $4,921,250 1 3
KGD KULA GOLD LTD $9,391,451 1 5
LCD LATITUDE CONSOLIDATED LTD $3,852,506 1 5
LPD LEPIDICO LTD $95,464,536 1 6
LNG LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS LTD $162,966,464 1 6
LRM LUSTRUM MINERALS LTD $1,794,127 1 3
MXR MAXIMUS RESOURCES LTD $2,158,543 1 3
MCM MC MINING LTD $98,615,712 1 10
MMR MEC RESOURCES LTD $1,658,314 1 4
MBK METAL BANK LTD $6,180,050 1 3
MEI METEORIC RESOURCES NL $15,941,063 1 4
MNB MINBOS RESOURCES LTD $5,654,562 1 4
MOD MOD RESOURCES LTD $91,121,120 1 6
MTB MOUNT BURGESS MINING NL $1,427,638 1 5
MGV MUSGRAVE MINERALS LTD $21,659,796 1 4
MZI MZI RESOURCES LTD $4,754,880 1 6
NMT NEOMETALS LTD $125,114,080 2 7
NWE NORWEST ENERGY NL $6,764,186 1 3
OXX OCTANEX LTD $2,181,704 2 7
PCL PANCONTINENTAL OIL & GAS NL $13,516,789 2 6
PAN PANORAMIC RESOURCES LTD $196,826,528 1 6
PGI PANTERRA GOLD LTD $3,374,421 1 4
PWN PARKWAY MINERALS NL $2,433,308 1 3
PKO PEAKO LTD $1,464,414 1 3
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIUM LTD $3,714,035 2 4
POS POSEIDON NICKEL LTD $97,779,968 1 4
PDZ PRAIRIE MINING LTD $71,112,152 1 6
RRS RANGE RESOURCES LTD $10,240,000 1 3
RFX REDFLOW LTD $38,481,596 1 5
REY REY RESOURCES LTD $71,149,064 1 6
RCO ROYALCO RESOURCES LTD $12,124,262 1 3
S2R S2 RESOURCES LTD $28,510,246 1 4
SRI SIPA RESOURCES LTD $13,658,367 2 4
SGQ ST GEORGE MINING LTD $37,264,528 1 3
SVY STAVELY MINERALS LTD $39,872,024 2 5
STX STRIKE ENERGY LTD $102,306,544 1 5
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES LTD $6,685,377 1 5
TLM TALISMAN MINING LTD $15,227,390 1 5
TAR TARUGA MINERALS LTD $4,093,850 1 4
TMR TEMPUS RESOURCES LTD $6,205,000 1 3
TML TIMAH RESOURCES LTD $4,454,224 2 8
TKM TREK METALS LTD $1,249,215 1 3
TON TRITON MINERALS LTD $48,211,172 1 5
VAL VALOR RESOURCES LTD $9,465,961 1 4
VAN VANGO MINING LTD $101,481,408 1 3
VMY VIMY RESOURCES LTD $27,141,628 2 6
XAM XANADU MINES LTD $47,307,220 1 7
YRL YANDAL RESOURCES LTD $10,695,670 2 3
ZER ZETA RESOURCES LTD $94,817,864 1 3

 
*The list does not include CEOs unless they are also directors.

“I think the premise of the mining industry being the worst in attracting and promoting women is a false one,” she said.

“My experience, and that of other women in leadership roles in other sectors, is that the barriers to the promotion of women to leadership are quite common in many sectors – whether that be sport, higher education, professional services, financial sector or media.”

Kelly Quirk, head of Perth-based recruiting firm Harrier Human Capital, told Stockhead earlier this year that the mining sector is a “lot better than people give it credit for”.

Guthrie believes the way the mining industry has tackled the issue has been one of the most constructive.

“While progress has been slower than we would like, the industry recognises the business case and has developed some really innovative ways to attract women and promote them into leadership roles,” she said.

“And all in an industry that operates under more difficult conditions than most sectors – conditions such as remote locations, shift work and long periods of isolation from families, and volatile commodity cycles that can impact significantly on financial and operational stability.”

Guthrie has plenty of experience in other sectors, currently serving as a director for the ABC and deputy chair of the Western Australian Cricket Association.

 

Shifting the dial

With respect to encouraging the promotion of women in the mining sector, Guthrie said the MCA was very conscious that it had a key role to play.

“Our contribution involves not only celebrating the success of women in mining through the state-based and national Women in Resources awards, but also drives change through our diversity working group, which highlights initiatives in structural and policy changes as well as cultural reform to address some of the unconscious biases that are present,” she said.

“In fact, the mining industry is one that is embracing the restructure of work to enable all employees to blend their career and family commitments and become more productive at work as a result.”

There is, however, still the problem of how people view the industry.

“To really shift the dial, we need to start with changing how we socialise girls and boys towards mining careers, and this starts with how we are perceived in the community,” Guthrie said.

“We are no longer a harsh, dirty and rough industry that is only based in the bush; mining is high tech, world-class in its research and at the cutting edge in digital automation, and many of our careers are based in the centre of our largest Australian cities.

“Shifting that imagery is key to attracting more people to work with us and enjoy some of the rich and rewarding experiences that I have enjoyed through my own career in mining.”