Sunday, 25 March 2018

Women in Mining: CSM Annual Dinner highlights how times have changed

There were relatively few alumni at last night's Camborne School of Mines (CSM) Annual Dinner in Falmouth. Attendance was dominated by current students, and as Head of School Kip Jeffrey reported there are now many more students on post-graduate MSc courses than there are on undergraduate courses, the gulf likely to increase next year with the introduction of the new MSc in Mineral Processing.
What was really good to see was the number of young women now pursuing careers in the mining industry, something unheard of when I began my 22 years at CSM in 1974:

CSM was established in 1888 and for its first 93 years its academic staff and students were all male:
CSM Final Year Dinner, 1977
CSM 1st Mineral Processing Technology graduates, 1979
CSM Mineral Processing Technology Final Year Dinner, 1983
In 1981 local girl Julie Holl caused quite a stir when she enrolled on the degree course in Mineral Processing Technology, graduating with a first class honours degree in 1984. Gaynor Yorath joined a year after Julie, and is now on the staff of the University of Cape Town. Thereafter the number of female students began to grow, but it was several years before the first female member of staff, and it would have been hard to imagine that there would one day be a female Director, as there was when Prof Frances Wall took up her duties in 2008 (Frances will be a keynote speaker at Process Mineralogy '18 in Cape Town). And who would have wagered on a young woman becoming President of the Student Union, as did Madeleine Hinton in 2012?
Madeleine Hinton and Frances Wall, with current President Alex Perry
Last night there was another bit of history, when 1995 graduate Emma Priestley, CEO of Goldstone Resources plc, became the first woman to be invited as the Guest Speaker at an Annual Dinner.
With Kip Jeffrey and Emma Priestley
Times have indeed changed, and so much for the better.
And if anyone knows the whereabouts of Julie Holl, please let me know as I would love to get in touch.
Twitter @barrywills


  1. Barry, let me join you in feeling happy about many girl students joining and making a mark in mineral based profession.I wish all the best to those whom you met and likely to meet more in future.
    I am also happy to report our Dept of Mineral Engn at Indian School of Mines (now IIT/ISM) had a tradition of having good numbers.

  2. And another first: the 1st African woman to head mining plants at Richards Bay Minerals, South Africa mei online

  3. Heard from Julie Holl this morning! She is based in Australia, as an agent for Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis


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