It is important to acknowledge that the regulatory environment for local mining companies has been instrumental in progressing transformation and inclusion of women in the mining sector, integrated resources business Lurco Group says.
However, Lurco capital raising and business development head Lee Stokes tells Mining Weekly that while many studies show that progress has been made to transform the space, “it is equally important for us to note that there still are industry barriers that affect the advancement of women in mining”.
The company, an emerging miner with a focus on exploration, beneficiation and trading of coal and chrome, prides itself on being one of Africa’s premier black-owned and -managed mining companies.
This is underpinned by a strong focus on partners, investors, skills, suppliers, communities and markets.
Additionally, Lurco aims to reignite investment in Southern Africa’s resources sector through innovative asset portfolios, project design, infrastructure coordination and transformational management.
Further, beyond South Africa, Lurco’s focus is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, with joint venture energy-led partnerships in Botswana and interests in unlocking the potential within eSwatini and Zimbabwe through registered entities, while it is engaged in several transactions that include coal and gold.
Lurco’s ambitions across the SADC region are aligned with its strategy of addressing challenges around the current energy crisis, continentwide and globally. The company states that it is committed to stimulating foreign direct investment in aid of resourcing for the future.
As an emerging miner, Lurco’s ethos is challenging the status quo as a voice for transformed mining in South Africa and beyond.
“Our pursuit of affirmative transformation and inclusion is still very new in this region, and as such warrants the continuous call for all industry stakeholders to do more, collectively.
Transformative affirmative action policies remain at the top of our business strategy,” Stokes explains, “because the journey of our legacy building is an all-inclusive one”.
The company remains cognisant of supporting the women empowerment agenda by continuing to create innovative opportunities, such as women-led enterprise development initiatives through the Lurco Foundation, and through partnerships and value-add programmes, further opening up the space to progress gender inclusion within the company, its host communities and across the market.
While the male-dominated industry may not appear as attractive as other career fields, particularly for women, Stokes believes that the mining industry needs to be marketed better, as a large majority of women seem to be unaware of the progressive and fulfilling careers they can develop in the industry.
“Having transitioned my profession into mining after a career focused on investment banking and financial markets, I have been pleasantly surprised by how seamlessly I have been able to integrate. “I do attribute a large part of this to the leadership at Lurco who afforded me the opportunity,” she enthuses.