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Georgette Barnes – breaking the gender barrier in male dominated mining profession

By Business Reporter – Tuesday 14 January 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – WHILE Women-in-Mining across the globe face various barriers to entry and operate in the extractive sector, it takes devoted, courageous and strong-willed female entrepreneurs to venture into male dominated occupational sectors such as the mining industry and are scaling to dizzier heights, equally competing with their male counterparts.

Significant progress has been made in many fields, mining included but much still needs to be achieved to ensure women start-up businesses traditionally dominated by men.

Although women are constantly succeeding in breaking the barrier of prejudice and exercise professions considered to be typically male in nature, they still face many difficulties and this constant challenge seems to be the incentive that drives most women to prove that yes, they are able to exercise any occupation.

One such classic example is Georgette Barnes Sakyi‐Addo, Founder and Executive Director of Georgette Barnes Limited, a Ghanaian Drilling and Mining supplies company based in Accra.

Established in 2009, the company represents well‐known sector brands such as Australian Mud Company, Breithaupt, RIDGID and Westernex, with clients in West Africa.

Georgette, a fluent French‐speaker, was awarded 2018 Female Entrepreneur of the Year by Invest in Africa (IIA), a non‐profit championing African‐owned SMEs across the continent.

She was selected as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining by Women in Mining – UK in 2016.

Georgette has consistently founded and managed start‐ups and small and medium business entities in the mining sector, and sought to give of herself and make an impact on others in the mining community.

When asked at her first job interview in 1993 by the CEO of International Gold Resources (IGR) in Accra, why she should be hired as Administration Assistant in an exploration firm when she had no prior experience, she replied: “I will never get any experience unless someone first tries me.” IGR tried her. She went on to establish an IGR office in Burkina Faso.

She travelled all over West Africa to assist with Concessions Acquisition and actively gave young job seekers a chance.

She was subsequently the first hire at Resource Services Group (RSG) in 1995 where she established its new offices in Ghana as head of administration. But she went beyond duty and took interest in the core business, and for the next decade, she worked with the team on projects throughout West Africa.

In 2004, she became founding Managing Director of Corstor Ghana Limited, a mining supplies firm headquartered in Johannesburg. Under Georgette’s direction and leadership, the mine support business caught the attention of a Swedish industry giant which acquired the Corstor Group including its Ghana branch.

She also represented the Australian company Westernex in Ghana and the West Africa sub region as non‐executive director.

To top it all, she is sharing her knowledge and experience by establishing Women in Mining (WIM) Ghana and volunteering as co‐ordinator. Georgette is also a volunteer and Co‐founder of Accra Mining Network (AMN) dedicated to people working in all aspects of the mining industry in Ghana to “meet, learn & earn”.

Georgette holds a BA in French and Linguistics and a Graduate Diploma in Communications from the University of Ghana. In 2005 she earned a Diploma in Accounting/Finance.

In 2015, she received a Certificate in Mining Law and Policy at the University of Ghana and another for Proficiency in Principles of Mining Engineering and Surface Mining Operations from University of Mining and Technology (UMaT, Tarkwa.

Her Interests include local content, economic linkages & diversity in the mining sector. She has co‐authored 4 publications in artisanal and small‐scale mining.

She as interests in expanding her business empire to the entire African continent, with medium-to long term prospects for the Zimbabwean market.  ENDS//


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