Setting the gold standard

Perth Mint acting chief executive officer Jane King, the first female CEO in the company’s 123 years of operation, discusses her focus on wellbeing, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. 

It has been a busy past 12 months for the Perth Mint and the gold industry.

The Gold Industry Group member company announced record silver sales for January, selling 2,387,165 ounces of silver in minted product form.

Last year the organisation also saw the gold price record its first calendar year decline since 2018, falling 4 per cent to end the year at $US1820 ($2500) per ounce of gold.

However, it noted that most of the decline in 2021 was seen during the first quarter, with improvement enjoyed since.

The Perth Mint also welcomed its first female chief executive officer in the company’s 123 years of operation.

Acting chief executive officer Jane King said she had been with the Perth Mint for more than seven years.

“Initially, I thought I would be here for 18 months to two years, but I have found it to be a fascinating business that presents one professional challenge after another,” King said. 

“I am still excited by the Perth Mint and want to be part of its success. 

“As acting CEO my focus is to keep the business running while seeing the business and our people through this difficult COVID period. 

“Our priority is to protect our staff from the spread of COVID. Equally so, if that did happen we have plans in place so that we can keep serving the mining community as we provide an essential service to their businesses.”

King has a background in customer service, but also spent a short time with Rio Tinto in Dampier at the port in WA, as well as two years as an HR superintendent on-site at Fortescue Metals Group’s Cloudbreak. 

“In addition to learning some pretty colourful language, understanding provisions for the life of mine was really rewarding,” King said. 

“Everything that we touched had to go back to how it was before, so I like the respect for the land that we were mining. 

“Once the mining aspect was removed from the pit we were backfilling and putting it back to how it was. The site also held a lot of respect for the First Nations people. Although I have a Masters in Employment Relations – Safety, HR and IR, working on a big mine site really honed my safety focus.”

King said one of her key priorities in the role was keeping people physically and mentally safe, especially amid the COVID pandemic. 

“I am cognisant of people’s mental wellbeing throughout this process and different people handle situations differently,” she said. 

“Encouraging our leaders to be understanding and put strategies in place for people who are struggling or living alone (is important), supporting them to continue living their lives as normally as possible as we deal with COVID.”

King said the Perth Mint offered women equal opportunities.

The company also has a program to educate its people on cultural awareness and have included First Nations people’s stories in its exhibition tour.

“In the tour, we talk about how Aboriginal families helped the gold industry get started,” King said. 

“We’re also committed to expanding our supply chain to use more Indigenous businesses and work with groups like the Waalitj Foundation to encourage candidates to apply for positions across our business.”

“Our business is enormously diverse. You walk through the different parts of the business and you see people from around the world. 

“With our heritage buildings, we have some challenges around access, but that said we have a lot of people who have declared a disability and we have made modifications to buildings that we can within heritage guidelines.”

King said that over the next one-to-five years she would like tourism to return to the visitor levels that the Perth Mint enjoyed before COVID, with more people from all over the world coming to enjoy its building and showcase its products. 

“I would like our coin programs to continue to be of interest and the innovation that is shown in there continue so more and more people collect gold and silver pieces,” she said. 

“I would like visitors to feel safe and comfortable coming here and visitors and customers understand that we are a sustainable business.

“I would also like our mining clients to still feel that they get good value and that we are conducting a business that has an eye on the future.”

This feature also appears in the April edition of Australian Mining.

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