Innovation as a catalyst for gender diversity and inclusion

As a resource company committed to empowering all employees, regardless of gender, race or background, Exxaro has created an organisational culture that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. 

Yomeshka Moodley, Business Excellence Manager at Exxaro, believes that two of the mining leader’s core values – teamwork and commitment to excellence– powers the innovation that could unlock boundless potential and long-term value for the African continent if they were to be fully adopted across the entire mining industry. 

Moodley recently spoke at the 11th Annual Women in Mining and Career Expo, sharing her first-hand experience of how both values play an important role in transforming the sector for the better. 

“There is power in working with inclusive and diverse teams because these teams go on to achieve the best results – both socially and economically,” she explained. Moodley actively participates in the initiatives that Exxaro is involved in to encourage teamwork across different groups. This includes the Diversity and Inclusion Task Team, which was formed with this very goal in mind and continuously shapes the way the resource company operates. 

Further exemplifying teamwork, Exxaro has leveraged its ecosystem by actively being involved in the Minerals Council Women in Mining strategy and the WiMSA annual Mining Career Day for Girls to deliver on gender diversity in the mining industry.

Touching on commitment to excellence, Moodley explained that this is all about the ceaseless effort to improve the way Exxaro functions. Exxaro proudly finds new ways to make the workplace safer, more productive and more inclusive. This quest for innovation – specifically management, product and self-innovation – is the catalyst for real change and ultimately, a more diverse and inclusive industry. 

Speaking on the topic of management innovation, Moodley commented, “If we’re able to crack management innovation, we’ll be able to attract more women to mining and compete with the demand for women from other sectors.” She continued, “Management innovation is about creating new ways to motivate and organise people so that we craft future fit organisations that cater for the diversity that our country is so blessed with”.

When it comes to product innovation, Moodley believes that the mining industry is benefiting greatly from embedding product enablers into operations. Automated processes for example, eliminates physiological challenges, like heavy lifting. thereby This affords women the ability to partake in all activities through remote-operated machinery. Therefore, product innovation assists in reducing gender discrimination, giving all an equal footing in the sector. 

Finally, self-innovation is the last piece of the puzzle according to Moodley. “Revisiting our competencies and approaches is an absolutely essential for both women and men. This ability to change and reinvent ourselves is crucial for transformative change.” 

The integration of teamwork, continuous improvement and innovation is key to driving gender diversity and inclusion within the mining industry. Exxaro will continue to nurture all employees, regardless of their gender, equipping both men and women with the right tools to become tomorrow’s mining leaders.