According to research from McKinsey, women represent an estimated 8 to 17 per cent of the global mining workforce. KAZ Minerals benefits from a relatively high proportion (21%) of female employees in its workforce and is seeking to improve female representation further. One impediment is that there have historically been legislative restrictions in Kazakhstan to women taking on certain roles at mine sites, which until 2021 included driving mining vehicles.
KAZ Minerals has led a long-running campaign to remove the restrictions on female employment in the mining industry, and on 12 October 2021 the relevant amendments to the Kazakhstan Labour Code were introduced. Other than roles which require the manual lifting of heavy loads, women can now be employed in roles across the industry without any restrictions.
We believe this is a significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer all employees equal opportunities, regardless of their gender. Following the amendments to the Labour Code, women will have the opportunity to choose their profession on an equal footing with men while being paid an equivalent salary, and the Group will benefit from a wider pool of potential employees.
Aktogay will advertise roles to women living locally to the site to become operators of mining vehicles and the KAZ Minerals Training and Development department has developed a programme of professional training for female drivers. The first female trainee truck driver at KAZ Minerals, Natalya Khlebnikova, received her initial training on a Mercedes truck, before continuing her training on CAT dump trucks of increasing size, from the CAT 777 to the 793. These vehicles have load capacities of 70 to 200 tonnes.
“I chose to drive a mining truck as its strength and power fills me with awe. I love driving such a huge machine. I think women must, just like men, set and achieve their goals. Women have flown both rockets and aeroplanes, and have driven trains. We have mastered low-tonnage equipment; now it is time for heavy-duty mining equipment. I want to move forward so that the country can be proud of the achievements of women!” says Natalya Khlebnikova, Aktogay dump truck driver.