Canada-based Zimbabwean engineer leads mining giant BHP’s push for gender balanced workforce

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By CTV News

FOR Sekai Musoki, mining runs in the family.

Growing up in a mining community in Zimbabwe, she always saw herself in the industry when she grew up.

“My dad was a mining engineer and worked at a pretty big gold mine in Zimbabwe,” said Musoki, a civil engineer working at BHP’s Jansen operation. “That’s where I’m from, and I grew up around mining and didn’t really realize that there were jobs outside of mining.”

Despite seeing mostly males in the mining industry, Musoki wanted to pursue a career similar to her dad.

“Growing up and going through school, I was good at math and good at physics, so I went in for engineering,” Musoki told CTV News. “And here I am. I got lucky and my life has led me on a path to do this career.”

Now an engineer working on the digital aspect of the Jansen operation, it’s her job to make sure the aggressive digital strategy is working and the staff know how to use it.

“We work mostly with the field engineering team, helping them get their inspections done and all the different things they need in the digital space.”

Musoki is part of a gender-balanced workforce, something BHP has been striving to achieve in Canada.

She says having that balance is a game changer.

“It tells the younger version of me that I can have whatever job I want in mining,” she said.

Vice president of potash for BHP Canada, Simon Thomas describes a gender-balanced workforce as having greater than 40 per cent of its employees either male or female.

“Our current workforce has just over 240 employees,” he said. “That workforce is at that level of representation.”

In fact, it’s ahead of BHP’s global workforce.

“More broadly, over 42 thousand people in our organization, approximately 35 per cent of that workforce is female.”

While she only saw one female working in mining growing up, Musoki, a member of the national board for women in mining, says this goal isn’t out of reach in today’s industry.

“BHP has been able to accomplish something that is really very achievable when you take the time to listen to the needs of your workforce and the needs of the community,” she said.

The Jansen operation sits at around 240 employees today, but that number is expected to grow to about 600 when the mine becomes fully operational.