IMARC: Resources companies called on to address workplace culture and diversity issues

Delegates on the final day of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney have focused on the need for resources companies to address workplace culture and diversity issues.

Throughout the conference, mining leaders have acknowledged that if the industry does not act now to fix and change the current culture, they will not be able to attract the workers required for the touted new resources boom.

Over the past 3 days, mining leaders from across the globe have challenged the current standard of traditions and values within the sector and discussed ways to make the industry safer for all.

The delegates were told that there is a realisation from resources companies that the industry must push for the acknowledgment that these issues need to be addressed from the top down.

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) Chief Information Officer Gavin Wood spoke to delegates and explained the work the mining behemoth is doing to change culture with its existing workforce.

NewcrestWood said many of Newcrest’s existing workforce grew up in mining areas and communities and that the company understands it needs to give them the skills to interact with other aspects of business and by virtue society.

If we do not give them these skills the culture will not change.”

IGO (ASX:IGO) Chief People Officer Sam Retallack told the conference: “We as industry have broken the psychological contract of trust that we have with the community. We are seen as a cause of climate change not as a solution.

We are seen as an unsafe workplace for females, we are seen as inflexible with our rostering and that you must commit to FIFO work. It’s not a particularly attractive proposition for new workers.”

We as industry have broken the psychological contract of trust that we have with the community”

Danielle Martin, Director of Social Performance at ICMM spoke about substantial issues facing the mining industry as workforce skills change and evolve.

The competition for talent will be tricky for mining because the skills in many cases are less specific to mining and are applicable across other sectors. Because of the culture and perception of mining, it is a less attractive industry for many workers who could work in other industries.”

ICMM’s overall purpose is to be a one stop shop of leadership through collaboration to enhance the contribution of mining and metals to sustainable development, towards a vision of a safe, just, and sustainable world enabled by responsibly produced minerals and metals.

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All is not lost however. According to Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) General Manager of Capability and Culture Stuart Jenner, changes to workplace culture will likely lead to an increase in the recruitment of new staff and the retention of key talent as the competition for skills intensifies.

We need to be upfront, honest, and transparent to establish that purpose.”

IMARC is Australia’s largest mining event, bringing together more than 7,500 decision makers, mining leaders, policy makers, investors, commodity buyers, technical experts, innovators, and educators from more than 110 countries. is an official media partner of IMARC.

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Written By Adam Orlando Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.