Heather Gamble, one of Women in Mining UK’s 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining. Courtesy of Heather Gamble

When Heather Gamble, CEO of Women on the Move, initially kickstarted the Artemis Project, a program designed to accelerate business outcomes for women entrepreneurs in the mining industry, alongside co-founder Laura Mottola, Gamble was looking to do more than to take on a new venture; she was looking to unsettle the industry.

“I realized there was nothing for women entrepreneurs in mining, and I just thought ‘I’m an entrepreneur and I’m here to advance women,” Gamble said. “I really could see some barriers that I felt we could bust through.”

Today, Artemis works with 13 mid- to large-tier mining company sponsors. Gamble explained that she and her team act as a bridge by uniting women entrepreneurs with mining organizations. This process involves networking, business coaching, attending curated delegation meetings, and more. The project also offers support and opportunities to 85 women entrepreneurs located in Chile and Brazil.

Gamble is being celebrated as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining nominees for the fifth edition of WIM100. Every two years, Women in Mining UK work on a publication that seeks to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the industry around the globe. This year, 915 nominations from 61 different countries were sent in for 491 women working in mining.

Besides Gamble, eight other Canadian women were included on the WIM100 2022 list. Chafika Eddine, chief sustainability officer at Orla Mining, works on initiatives that encourage women to join the industry and programs for women entrepreneurs.

Dr. Charlotte Gibson is an assistant professor and head of the Critical Minerals Processing Lab at Queen’s University’s mining department.

Dorena Quinn, senior vice-president at Iamgold, brought a focus on “people” to every facet of the company’s strategy.

Jamile Cruz, founder of I&D 101 Consulting, works with mines to make organizations more inclusive and equitable.

Eldorado’s senior director of sustainability, Jennifer Prospero, helps her team to implement sustainability systems around the world.

Monica Ospina, founder and CEO of O Trade, provides solutions for mining companies to improve their social performance.

Pamela Cook Ellemers, principal mineral resource manager at De Beers, managed projects across the world and mentors geology students at the University of Calgary.

Kathleen Grandy, senior vice-president, human resources, at Kinross Gold implemented a program that aims to promote conversations about topics such as racism, mental health, LGBTQIA+ experiences and more.

“I love Women in Mining UK, they’re doing great things,” Gamble said. “I’m honoured to be a part of this year’s list of women. This award really helps to support what we’re doing at Artemis and Women on the Move, and to keep pushing for female innovation.”

Gamble believes that programs like Artemis Project and the work the other nominees are doing is important to help support women in an industry where certain stereotypes can present themselves.

“There was this bias initially…those in the business industry thought the women entrepreneurs were from the food industry,” she explained. “We all have biases, of course, but the bias there was ‘You’re a woman in business, you must be feeding us.’ That just signalled to me that I really needed to put [Artemis] together.”

Radical progress does not occur overnight, but Gamble is a proponent of what she calls “disruptive innovation,” something different that can shift the paradigm. To this effect, her organization is planning an entirely women-led mine.

“We see the power of mining, and we want to rebrand to show how critical mining is,” Gamble said. “I feel that [the mining industry] is poised to just break through in a huge way. It’s male dominated, [but] it’s really all about having balanced, diverse and inclusive workplaces.”