The NSW Minerals Council has announced a new network designed to help connect women in the mining industry and to attract more to the sector.
Unveiled at Skills on Show 2012, the Women in Mining Network (WIMIN_NSW) aims to encourage more women into the sector.
"The industry is growing and we’re going to need to attract and retain more women to be able to meet the global demand for our minerals in the years to come," NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.
"Women currently make up around 10% of our workforce and some even work at the coal face, but there aren’t enough women in non-traditional roles. I want to break the perception that mining is just a blokey pursuit.
"WIMIN_NSW will encourage more women to discover the benefits of a career in mining – competitive salaries, exciting fields like geology, surveying, environmental science, engineering and trades, and the opportunity to build a lifestyle living and working in regional NSW.
"For the first time we’ll have a way for women to connect with their peers from across the State and a forum to help us identify some of the barriers to entry for other women."
The mining industry recently came under fire from interest group Women On Boards.
According to the group in an analysis of how ASX200 companies are complying with the recommendations and making progress on gender diversity more generally, mining and energy companies rank the lowest.
The Women on Boards (WOB) Traffic Light Index was been compiled from the latest annual reports and websites of 78 companies from the ASX200.
Of the 27 mining companies in the index, 20 rated red and seven were rated orange.
None of the mining and energy companies analysed rated green.
Red lights are given to companies who have provided no details about compliance with Principle 3 or diversity in their most recent annual report, made any commitment to providing information next time, or in the judgment of WOB have a very basic understanding of the intent of Principle 3 and diversity in general.
According to Galilee, the aim of the new program is to create an "impression on some of the young women at Newcastle’s Skills on Show exhibition and that figure of 10% [participation] will increase in the years ahead".