Woman in Mining – Needing to add some serious diversity to the all male blog posts so far, I could not wish for anyone more decorated in her field, so this week’s blog Q&A is with Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo Executive Director at Georgette Barnes Limited, Volunteer President at Women In Mining, Co-Founder of the Accra Mining Network and volunteer Elected President of the Association of Women In Mining In Africa with all of that work I was not sure she would have time for little old me and my Q&A but thankfully Georgette agreed, so here goes!
1. So as usual can you tell us a little about yourself to kick off this week’s Q&A blog session?
My name is Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo, I run a mine support company based in Accra and servicing clients all over West Africa.
2. Tell us more about Georgette Barnes Limited and what the company does?
We offer exploration, geological and drilling supplies and maintenance services on mine sites. We stock drilling fluids we are the local representatives for AMC muds. We also stock specialized tools & instruments targeted specifically for the mining industry. GBL also offers geotextiles, liners and Core shed equipment as well as drilling consumables.
3. Ghana is where you are based and we have seen a number of changes in the local gold mining business, is mercury still a major problem in artisanal & small-scale mining? What developments are being put in place to eradicate this issue in mining?
Mercury I believe is a global problem in the artisanal and small scale mining sector and not limited to Ghana, the miners, academia and government continue to work towards solutions to improve the situation.
4. What changes can be made by the government agencies to help the artisanal and small-scale miners in West Africa?
The government continues to engage miners and also there are technical training opportunities offered I believe. The sector I believe needs more financial support, innovation, and technology.
5. You seem to have made the switch into mining back in 1993 and only in the last decade we have seen a big push to be more inclusive of women in mining with such organizations as those you chair or represent, how was it back then compared to now especially for the medium to large scale mines in Africa?
Now there are more women participating in the mining sector and also, they are more visible compared to back in 1993. The emergence of women groups in the mining sector and a general global push for more inclusion has contributed to this growth and visibility. Social cultural behaviours or thinking greatly influence our choices, so in our communities we tend to aspire to be what we see and what we are exposed to in the media etc.
6. I have been watching with admiration from afar the work you do on the ground, can you tell us about the work you do with the Association of Women In Mining In Africa?
I work with AWIMA : The Association of Women in Mining in Africa (AWIMA), this is a network of African women in mining, oil and gas national associations. AWIMA was created on August 19th 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya during the African Women Business Linkages Forum organised by the African Union Commission. This network of associations from the Southern, Central, Western, Eastern and Northern regions of Africa advocates for the participation, representation, leadership and inclusive empowerment of women in the extractive sector in Africa. AWIMA is currently running a jewellery completion, The AWIMA Jewellery project aims to connect African women across the continent, to capture and share the opportunity equitably along the value chain. Funds raised from the sale of the jewellery will go towards projects that improve the health and safety of women in mining. The AWIMA Jewellery Project builds on the increasing demand for ethical products resulting from responsible supply chains and is aligned with and is delivering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Mining Vision, and is responding to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. More information is on our website awimaafrica.org
7. What changes are you witnessing today that were not viable back in the 90’s for Women in Mining?
I wouldn’t call them changes but rather an increase and visibility of the work of technical women on mines. This also inspires other employers to give more job opportunities. There are still some challenges to overcome. I am however optimistic and will describe the status as dynamic. We need more opportunities for women professionals and women in ASM. We would like more to be in C-Suite positions, it is a process and we continue to engage stakeholders. Women In Mining Ghana also periodically holds information sessions on opportunities in STEM for Junior to High School girls in the hope of inspiring more of them to pursue further education in Mining.
8. How can younger women that are looking to get into mining help themselves to push that passion?
Education I believe is key, knowing which subjects to study is usually a great first step, and you need to educate yourself generally about the industry. There are so many options for accessing information these days if you have access to the internet. Follow your mentors on-line, follow your subjects of interest online as well so you can be informed of updates and innovations in your area of expertise.
9. How can people find you online or connect with you for business or the social work that you do?
You can follow me on LinkedIn at Georgette B. Sakyi-Addo
My company’s professional page is georgettebarnes.com, for our work with women in mining our websites are Women in Mining Ghana wimghana.org, and Association of Women in Mining Africa awimaafrica.org