When Product Engineer Robin Boroski helps mining customers, she's usually wearing steel-toed boots and visiting a customer mine site to inspect a new product. Jennifer Cantrell, Cat product support manager, is more familiar with preventing downtime than how a bill is passed in the United States Capitol. Yet both women had the opportunity to help Caterpillar mining customers in a unique way during the Women's Mining Coalition effort in early May.
The Women's Mining Coalition (WMC) brought together women from all facets of the U.S. mining industry to Washington, DC, to help legislators on Capitol Hill understand what mining means in terms of jobs and to hear how safe and environmentally responsible the mining industry is today.
The women visited Congressional offices in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in teams to share key issues that will heavily influence the mining industry in the United States. They discussed with the Congress members key issues that will heavily influence whether mining will remain viable in the United States. During the week, the WMC connected with more than 200 legislators and their aides.
"I learned a lot - this was a great experience," says Boroski. "Many legislators from non-mining states don't understand how mining is done or why it matters to them. It was great to work alongside both customers and competitors in support of mining."
Cantrell learned about the challenges of the permitting process for mineral exploration and mining. "I was surprised to learn that many minerals needed for national defense, renewable energy production, telecommunications and many other areas of our economy are 100 percent reliant on foreign sources. Permit delays and the lack of domestic mineral policy impacts mining companies, suppliers and their customers."
The Caterpillar team also visited Caterpillar's Washington, DC, Governmental Affairs office, where they received an overview of how Caterpillar works inside the beltway from Vice President of Governmental Affairs Kathryn Karol. "It's great when legislators can see different people from Caterpillar. It supports our work and adds to their development. Women miners are unique enough to get a lot of attention on Capitol Hill," said Karol.
Ben Cordani, Caterpillar HR manager, supported this effort. "There are very real threats to mining in the United States. This group of women allowed Congress to see the real people behind an industry that helps make our nation great."
For additional information on the Women's Mining Coalition, click here to visit their website.