Breaking Boundaries: Honoring Women in Mining on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is one of the few, yet important days we get to celebrate and recognize the remarkable and God-given women in our lives and around the world. Throughout history, women have been fundamental in the advancement of various sectors of our global economy and society, breaking through long-standing barriers and inspiring future generations. In the mining industry, women continue to challenge the status quo, by driving innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity. Over the past two decades, women in mining have broken through glass ceilings and made great strides, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. Today, we celebrate and recognize a few standout women who have championed the mining industry and paved the way for a more equitable and sustainable future in the industry.

Cynthia Carroll

Cynthia Carroll is an outstanding leader who shattered the glass ceiling in the mining industry. In 2007, she became the first female CEO of Anglo American plc, one the largest mining companies in the world. During her tenure, she made it her mission to promote diversity and inclusivity in the industry, increasing the number of women in leadership positions. She also implemented safety and sustainability initiatives that significantly reduced the company’s environmental footprint and improved safety standards. Cynthia is a true visionary, and her leadership has left a lasting impact on the mining industry.

Maryse Belanger

Maryse Belanger is a highly accomplished woman in the mining industry with over 30 years of experience. She has held senior positions in some of the world’s largest mining companies, including Glencore, BHP Billiton, and Placer Dome. Belanger is known for her expertise in geology and has played a critical role in the discovery and development of several major mineral deposits. In 2018, she was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Atlantic Gold, where she oversees the company’s operations in Nova Scotia. Belanger’s contributions to the mining industry have been recognized with numerous awards, including the prestigious Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 2015.

Nolitha Fakude

Nolitha Fakude is another woman making strides in the mining industry. Hailing from South Africa, Fakude has over 25 years of experience in the mining, petrochemical, and finance sectors. She has held various executive positions, including serving as the first female executive director of Anglo American’s South African subsidiary. In addition to her mining industry experience, Fakude also serves on the boards of several companies and organizations, including the South African Reserve Bank and Anglo American Platinum. Her leadership and expertise in the industry have earned her numerous accolades, including being named in 2017 as one of the top 100 most influential people in Africa by the New African magazine.

Janet Lee-Sheriff

Janet Lee-Sheriff is a Canadian mining engineer with over 30 years of experience in the mining industry. She currently serves as the CEO of Golden Predator Mining Corp, a Vancouver-based gold exploration company. Prior to joining Golden Predator, she held senior executive positions at a number of mining companies, including Kinross Gold, Stillwater Mining Company, and Capstone Mining. Throughout her career, Lee-Sheriff has been recognized for her leadership in the mining industry, including being named as one of the “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” in 2016. She is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the industry, and is also actively involved in mentoring young women pursuing careers in mining.


In Kenya, women continue to make significant contributions to the mining industry, despite all challenges. In recent years, the government has taken steps to promote gender equality and inclusivity in the industry, resulting in more women taking on leadership roles within the sector. Women miners in Kenya are involved in various aspects of the mining process, including extraction, processing, and marketing of minerals. They’ve also been instrumental in promoting sustainable mining practices and advocating for better working conditions. Kenyan women in mining are a shining example of resilience, a great example is the Association For Women in Energy and Extractives in Kenya (AWEIK) who’s strength, determination, and contributions are helping to shape the future of the industry.

These remarkable women have made achieved substantial milestones in the mining industry, advocating for greater diversity, sustainability, and safety. They’ve broken down barriers, shattered glass ceilings, and paved the way for future generations of women in mining. On International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate their accomplishments and continue to support women in mining as they build a brighter future for the industry.

From JHR Africa and myself, we wish you a Happy International Women’s Day!

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