Creating a more diverse mining industry

January 24, 2024

Nearly everything we touch is a product of the mining industry. From technological innovations to construction materials, the demand for mined products is increasing every day. As we deliver more services to meet this demand, we assess where gaps exist and opportunities for improvement. One of the many ways to advance the industry is to create a more equitable workforce.

EXP’s mining group, led by Senior Vice President Aziz Sene, incorporates newly developed technologies and safer practices across the full lifecycle of mining and mineral projects. The team also places a strong emphasis on attracting diverse talent to reduce the gender gap.

Diverse talent drives innovation

Combining diverse individuals and backgrounds in our teams promotes a culture of creativity and resilience. In order to face the challenges that arise in the mining industry, whether related to safe practices or sustainability, it is crucial to bring diverse schools of thought together to create advanced solutions. Moreover, providing growth opportunities for diverse talent ensures the continued success of a team.

EXP’s talented members driving a more equitable future in mining are Senior Mining Structural Engineer Rena Liu, Mining Engineer-in-training Ivy Chen, Process Control + Instrumentation EIT Niyat Ghebreselasie and Mining EIT Lara Daou. Together, they have an impact on our clients’ priorities and charting a sustainable and diverse path forward.

Rena is a senior mining structural engineer performing structural integrity inspections and assessments of phase I and II with clients such as Vale. After working in China for 14 years, Rena immigrated to Canada in 2003 and worked with Canadian consulting companies on structural engineering design projects for 15 years.

For Rena, it’s all about the results. “When preparing to conduct an ore handling system structure inspection for a client, the mine supervisor asked if I would be going underground to do the inspection, given that not many females have performed this task,” said Rena. “I performed the structural inspection on the surface and underground, up to 6,000 feet deep, including climbing and high underground temperature. Only perfect results can prove that I’m qualified, no matter if I’m male or female. I’m proud that I completed the job and met all the client’s requirements despite the initial assumption that I might not be able to.”

Niyat graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and now works out of EXP’s Brampton office, working on our Vale site in Ontario and assisting other groups, such as those in our energy sector, to accomplish projects. Niyat joined EXP as a new graduate and gained a strong comprehension of the mining industry through the projects she has worked on. “As a Process EIT within EXP’s versatile mining team, I have participated in a range of diverse projects that have enabled me to make a positive contribution. Despite being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I have consistently felt supported at EXP, and all my ideas and contributions are embraced without bias or discrimination,” said Niyat.

Ivy, who graduated from University of Toronto with a major in mineral engineering, has worked on Vale’s North Atlantic Operations Water Management Program. Choosing a field that is male-dominated can be intimidating but Ivy felt EXP’s hiring process was a key differentiator. “What really impressed me was that when Aziz and Director of Engineering, Mining Ian Vesterback interviewed me, I could feel that my experience was valued,” said Ivy. “They explained their vision, ambition, as well as the liveliness of the sector, and the opportunities for all, which I have never experienced before. And that’s when I decided to join EXP.”

After earning her mining engineering degree from McGill University and her master’s degree from the University of Florida, Lara joined EXP’s mining team, where she plays an important role in our civil mining projects. “The combined expertise of my colleagues and their continuous support have propelled my growth in the mining industry, equipping me with knowledge in all facets related to navigating and executing a successful mining project,” said Lara.

EXP is proud to hire role models who will help set the standard for a gender-equal industry. With an emphasis on client results, collaboration and respect, we are confident each step forward will get us closer to the industry goal of being gender-equal by 2025.

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