Mining is too often considered as a male industry with a predominately male workforce. Yet, in reality there is a real role for women in the industry and we should all encourage it.
At MMG LXML Sepon, we remain committed to the 2018 International Women’s Day objective #PressForProgress which means we all are dedicated to think, act, and be gender inclusive. Terms like gender equality, diversity and inclusion are not considered to be a woman issue but they are treated as a right belonging to all of us.
We know that to be valued as one of the world's top mid-tier mining companies, we need to work to develop our communities and people. In order to achieve this goal, we need to create an environment that;
- Embraces all differences and treats everyone with dignity, care and respect.
- Encourages us to always work together to create and maintain an inclusive work environment that leverages diverse thinking, skills, experience and working styles so our people reach their full potential and feel they are valued and they belong.
- Develop leaders who value and understand inclusion and build teams characterised by collaboration, innovation and efficiency.
- Do what we say by extending our inclusive style in all our relationships.
As an organisation, we know our strength comes from embracing and recognising the skills and knowledge of our diverse workforce. We can do this by developing clear paths to leadership, providing career opportunities and creating an inclusive environment where all women can fulfil their potential.
Diversity is about difference and uniqueness. Differences in opinions, perceptions, ideas and ways of doing things contribute to the improvement of the way we work. If we are to continue to develop and grow a culture of diversity and inclusion in the mining industry, than we need to support encouragement and endorsement of our organisational leaders, employees and local communities.
We are passionate about increasing women participation and empowerment in the workforce. To achieve this, we believe healthy women and girls will be a strong foundation to lifelong success—personally and professionally. That’s why MMG LXML Sepon, through a unique partnership with UNICEF and the Lao Government, have invested in the ‘1000 Day’ project to improve mother and child nutrition and health. To date, the project distributed over three million micronutrient sachets and reached 150,000 children and their families.
Since operations commenced in 2002, MMG LXML Sepon has remained committed to empowering women and supporting women participation in the workforce through the development and adoption of a range of workplace policies.
For example, in response to family needs, rosters were shortened from 28/14 (work days, off days) to 14/7 days. This small change has helped to ensure our employees have adequate breaks and quality time with their families and communities. Our employees are also entitled to a free annual health check-up and access to gym and sporting facilities to ensure they stay physically fit and have access to the right medical care to keep physically and mentally well.
At present, women make up 20% of the mine’s workforce and almost 40% of the truck operators in Sepon are women from the local community. So we can see there is a real opportunity for women to excel and thrive in the mining industry.
We are focussed on learning and training to develop and empower our workforce. In Sepon, our female truck operators have embarked on an educational campaign to diversify their skills and participate in operational positions. Ultimately, as a result of the training program they will have more opportunities to advance in their careers within and outside of the mining industry. Our trainings are empowering these employees with the ‘human capital’, knowledge and skills to develop their careers now and into the future.
At Sepon, we are proud to have recently celebrated the promotion of our first female Grader Operator and Menzi Muck Operator. This is of particular significance given that at present this is a totally male dominated industry.
Having a female grader and Menzi Muck operator is a big achievement for Sepon and a true inspiration for other women in Sepon and wider mining industry of Lao PDR.
Ms Pok Khaikeo from Vilabouly District will be our first female Grader Operator and recently said:
“I am very proud that I am now able to operate a grader because it is the hardest vehicle to control, many times harder than an Articulated Dump Truck. The future is uncertain. Accumulating as much experience and qualifications will be a competitive advantage for me when I apply for a job elsewhere.”
At Sepon, we are proud to continue to train and develop our already highly qualified women.
Ms Phet Xaysomboud (pictured with the Menzi Muck), a resident of Vilabouly, is among the first group of female UXO clearance operators who is undergoing training on how to operate Menzi Muck clearance trucks. The comprehensive training program, involves a minimum of 27 hours operating the Menzi Muck in various conditions, including on steep slope areas. Ms Phet is also among our qualified UXO technicians who completed the internationally accredited Explosive Ordnance Disposal Level 1 training program in 2016.
Moving forward, LXML will continuously strive to support the mining industry, Lao PDR, and the global community to achieve gender equality and empower women at work and at home to #PressForProgress: to think, act, and be gender inclusive.
Ms Phet Xaysomboud who will become the first Menzi Muck operator in Sepon mine.
Read this Media Release in Lao.