“Mining matters,” declares Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) CEO Amanda Lacaze.
She has been at the Lynas helm for nearly a decade but, reflecting on her tenure in the industry, claims that at the start of her career, she wasn’t aware that a job like the one she has now even existed.
Lacaze told the audience of the Investing in Women in Resources Networking Breakfast on day 2 of the Gold Coast Investors Showcase that mining in the 21st century is a high-tech endeavour, dispelling the notion that it merely involves “a bunch of boofheads pushing around dirt”.
She emphasises that the commodities mined are essential to daily life and that the revenue generated fuels our economy.
Yet, despite the rapid advancement of new technologies creating new roles and opportunities for safer workplaces, the industry remains male-dominated.
In 2023, women make up just 16 per cent of the mining workforce, according to the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
As a champion of women’s rights in the industry, Lacaze proudly explained how Lynas had increased its female workforce from 63 in 2015 to 235 today.
But more broadly, Lacaze remains one of only a dozen female CEOs on the ASX 200, which she said is ‘not good enough’.
“I have been working for more years than I am going to fess up to, and it hasn’t really changed, and the statistics don’t lie, unfortunately.
“the statistics don’t lie, unfortunately”
Our company has a female chair and CEO, and that is remarkable, but it should not be remarkable in 2023”.
She says more needs to be done within the workforce, too. Lacaze recalled an anecdote about a Lynas employee, Rosie, who was given an opportunity, only to be bullied in her role. From this experience, a ‘buddy system’ was implemented for women at Lynas.
Speaking to the high school students in the room, the industry stalwart encouraged a career in mining. To the executives in the room, she shared her view that diversity in the workplace creates richer conversations and better solutions.
Despite the industry challenges, Lacaze remains passionate about her role and joked that around 90 could be a suitable retirement age.
Write to Carolyn Rebeiro at Mining.com.au
Images: Lynas Rare Earths Ltd