National Miners Day Feature: The Artemis Project to bring talented mining graduates to Canada

Today is National Miners Day! To celebrate we decided to highlight the work being done at the Artemis Project to improve women’s representation in mining. 

In October of this year the Artemis Project made an exciting announcement: they are introducing a talented group of female Chilean mining engineer graduates to Canada.

"There's a lot of talk around the need for Canadian mining companies to attract and retain younger and diversified talent, but traditional recruiting is not meeting the needs. This initiative is important because it takes innovative action towards filling in the talent gap that exists in the mining industry," said Heather Gamble, CEO of the Artemis Project. 

This year the program is hoping to place 55 talented women in positions across Canada.

The first ten graduates will join companies at the beginning of 2022, with the second group expected to join later. Gamble hopes to expand the program through the summer.

"With the help of senior leaders in mining, such as Ian Pearce, we introduced the program to several Canadian mining company executives and received an overwhelming positive response. NewGold is the first Canadian mining company to make the first hire, who is expected to arrive in February, 2022. Several others are in active discussions to hire for Canada, Chile, and Peru," says Gamble.

The placements will not only help address the lack of representation by women in professional and management roles in mining, but also retention.

"Just recruiting women does not cut it anymore. It is about retaining that talent, from day one," says Gamble. 

Figures from the Workplace 2020 McKinsey & Company report show this struggle. In addition to low labor force participation, the number of drop-off from entry level to executive for women in mining is among the most dramatic across all industries they examined. 

According to Gamble, the Artemisa Mining Challenge has built in retention components to measure, manage, and assure stronger retention rate.

Why Chile?

In Chile female labour force participation is low - 49 percent, a number that is below the average for Latin America (55 percent) and OECD countries (61 percent). The gap in male-dominated industries such as mining is even starker.

"The situation is tough. Female mining engineers continue to face closed doors in Chile. Most of these young women chose to pursue mining when growing up, their hearts dedicated to mining and their education demonstrating their intellectual and professional capacity. Yet for up to two years, they have struggled to find first career jobs, some forced to take up unrelated work, due to economic conditions," said Gamble. 

Above all the business benefits, Gamble says the program fundamentally aims to provide equal opportunities for those under-represented.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States back in 2015, provides a plan to eradicate poverty, inequality, and take transformative steps towards a better planet. The fifth goal for the agenda is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

"International female talent in mining, especially in jurisdictions where the percentage of professional females in mining, is very low. Chile and Peru are such examples. Our purpose with this program is to advance healthy outcomes for talented women in mining around the world," says Gamble. 

Offering opportunities to talented women around the world

One of the talents that Gamble is talking about is Belén Vergara Suárez, a 28 years old mining engineer graduate from the Universidad de Santiago. 

When Suárez heard about the Artemis Project's program she expressed immediate interest, despite being somewhat nervous about living abroad.  

"This opportunity becomes very valuable for me because I can glimpse mining in a developed country, apply everything that my house of study gave me in my formative years, in addition to taking this chapter of my life not only as a time of professional growth but also personal."

According to Gamble the expansion of the program will include more roles such as geologists, technologists, and engineers. Currently the Artemis Project has talent in Chile, Peru but discussions are on-going with several other countries.

"It just doesn't make any sense to see this talent go to waste, especially knowing that many countries, such as Canada, need fresh, diverse, professional talent who are passionate about mining," says Gamble.

 The Artemis Project will be hosting an open house on December 15 2021 at 12pm EST. Join the event to learn more about their organization and what they are up to right now!

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