500 Women in mining

Juan Pablo Rizzo, Manager of People and Sustainability at Enaex Argentina, explains how Enaex advocates for women’s inclusion within the mining industry.

What is the project ‘500 Women in Mining’?

The 500 Women in Mining project first trains Santa Cruz women as mining operators and then teaches them to handle and use explosives in the mining industry. In Argentina, most people working in mining operations are men. We try to incorporate more women into mining, but it takes time.

The 500 Women in Mining project wants to twist this course and take a step forward towards gender equality. In addition to allowing them to work in mining, we want to ensure that salaries are the same whether they are women or men.

How was this project born?

This project was born as an initiative of the Argentine Mining Workers Association and the Government of the Province of Santa Cruz, to which Enaex Argentina joins, to incorporate Santa Cruz women into the mining industry. Enaex has been gradually integrating women into operational and leadership positions for years.

The first impactful change we can have is during selection. We all have an idea of what it is to “be a miner.” Today, we must eliminate these unconscious barriers to open and generate more diversity in our company.

What are the objectives of this project?

This project’s first goal is to empower women so that they can enter the world of mining. The second is to train women in communities where mining companies operate so that they can participate in new job positions.

What are the benefits of this project?

There are several benefits:

• Enrich mining activity with the contribution of women,
• Establish better links with the community,
• Expand and optimize the available workforce by increasing women’s employability,
• Contribute to developing families headed by women (a prominent social situation in these regions).

How many women joined Enaex Argentina thanks to this project?

There are currently 15 women working in Enaex Argentina mining sites. Three hold leadership positions and five were trained within the 500 women program (out of 15).

One is Melisa González, who was introduced in 2019 and arrived at Enaex Argentina in 2019. She was the first explosivist  in Cerro Moro. It is an excellent example that with good training, we can all work in mining.

What does the gender diversity of Enaex Argentina contribute?

Diversity generates new things: A comprehensive approach to all social realities, and a good working environment, encourage the exchange of ideas and enriches discussion and decision-making.