In recent years, there has been much talk about the importance of helping women feel welcome, challenged in their skills, and finding opportunities in mining, an area traditionally dominated by men. Employers and an organisation called the Minerals Council of South Africa have conducted a survey on working conditions in the industry. They asked the respondents about their professional experience in the mining industry and whether it lured them into the mining industry or kept them there.
For the most part, respondents noted that the industry is constantly evolving, and never more than in the current moment. Inequality in the industry is at an all-time low and continues to drop as women take prominent positions at operational levels, middle-management, and the C-Suite.
North America Leading the Pack
A September 2019 report by international law firm Osler Hoskin Harcourt LLP & Co LLP found that in South Africa, the capital of African mining companies, a high percentage of female directors are driven by regulatory diversity standards. Whereas Latin America and the Caribbean have the lowest rates of women at the top of the mining sector. Canada and the United States are the countries making the most headway.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women accounted for 15.8% of the labor force in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas industries in the US in 2019. From the perspective of women with less than five years of work experience, women rank lower, while growth opportunities are higher for women with more than five years of work experience.
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in partnership with Women in Mining UK and Mining Talent shows that mining ranks third among global industries for women in leadership positions. Among the 500 largest mining companies in the world, 8% of directors are women.
A Prominent and Influential Executive
One of the executives breaking all barriers in their career in mining is Kylie Dickson. Kylie Dickson is a Canadian CPA with more than 14 years of experience working with listed commodity companies. She is also a Canadian auditor who has worked throughout the life cycle of the company’s growth and has played a key role in several financing and M & A transactions. Ms. Dickson is a board member of Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. and Star Royalties Ltd. and was appointed to the Board of Directors at Hillcrest Energy.
Other prominent positions have included her time as Chief Financial officer of Solaris Resources, which she resigned from in November of 2019. Before Solaris Resources was spun out of Equinox Gold, Ms. Dickson served as Vice President of Business Development at Equinox Gold.
Solaris Resources has made a deliberate effort to promote women’s empowerment in mining as the diversity of a workforce and management has been proven to lead to more innovation and profitability. Companies have adjusted expectations and seen that they do better with more women in the boardroom, and in particular, directing decisions in the C-suite.
Ms. Sunny Lowe, Chief Financial Officer of Solaris Resources Inc, states, “Solaris has embraced the Women’s Empowerment Principles established by UN Global Compact Office in an effort to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace. We have made a deliberate effort to work towards developing a work environment that is barrier-free to developing women leaders in our organization and beyond. The Principles allow us to strengthen our commitment towards internationally proclaimed human rights and serve as a framework for us to create real impact on gender equality through commitment and action focused on seeing female representation in all our operations as well as within industry. Earlier this year, together with Women in Mining Ecuador, we launched the Soy Minera (Woman Miner) scholarship program that will finance undergraduate tuition for female engineering and/or undergraduate students in careers related to mining in Ecuador, supporting the mainstreaming of gender equality at our Warintza project, as well as the opportunity of the mining sector to incorporate actions, through investment, toward women empowerment in the industry.”
Kylie Dickson was on maternity leave for seven months after having her third child when the company she founded, Anthem United, Inc., entered into a merger with two other companies. Shortening maternity leave and hiring a nanny have been one of the toughest decisions of her career, she says.
Dickson grew up in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. During her studies, she worked at KPMG before getting a full-time job in 2003 and earning her Certificate of Accountancy. Using her skills and training, she has specialised as a manager in the mining sector.
A Track Record That Says it All
One of KPMG’s clients was Greg Smith, a mining entrepreneur who founded a company called Minefinders Corp. He hired Dickson as a financial controller and led partnerships in a series of successful mine mergers and acquisitions worth more than $2 billion. Dickson was Chief Financial officer of the subsequently acquired Esperanza Resources Corp. After leaving, Dickson co-founded Anthem United.
Her track record is an impressive one, and stands out as an example of a multi-faceted executive career in the mining industry. She was the Vice President of Business Development at Equinox Gold Corp. and, before that, VP, Business Development at Trek Mining. Kylie previously worked as Chief Financial Officer for JDL Gold Corp., Anthem United Inc. and Esperanza Resources, and served as the Corporate Controller of Minefinders Corporation.
The Latest Chapter
Most recently, Hillcrest Energy Technologies appointed Kylie Dickson to its Board of Directors.
Hillcrest is a partnership with Oropass Ltd., an Ontario-registered company that holds the U.S. license rights to a patented electrical generation technology. Through concept and commercialization, Hillcrest Energy Technologies Ltd. invests in the development of future-oriented energy solutions.
CEO Don Currie announced the appointment of Kylie Dickson to the company’s board of directors on April 9. Ms Dickson has worked throughout the life cycle of Hillcrest’s growth and has played a key role in several financing and M&A transactions. She will join the company’s Board of Directors, where she will bring experience, knowledge and involvement in areas such as audit and corporate governance committees.
Kylie Dickson also joined the Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. Board in 2017 and sits on the Audit Committee and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. Ms. Dickson is an executive with over 14 years of experience in the mining industry. She has worked with companies at various stages of the mining life cycle including exploration, mine development and operations, as well as playing a key role in multiple financings and M&A transactions. Kylie is currently the Vice President, Business Development of Trek Mining Inc. Kylie Dickson was the Chief Financial Officer of JDL Gold Corp. when JDL acquired Luna Gold Corp. to create Trek Mining in March 2017.
Previously, Kylie was a founding shareholder and Chief Financial Officer of Anthem United Inc. and was the Chief Financial Officer of Esperanza Resources which was acquired by Alamos Gold in 2013. She also served as the Corporate Controller of Minefinders Corporation from 2007 to 2012 prior to its acquisition by Pan American Silver. Kylie also currently serves on the Board of Directors at Hillcrest Energy Kylie began her career with KPMG LLP’s mining practice and is a Canadian CPA, CA with a BBA in Accounting from Simon Fraser University.