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Alaska Women in Mining Coalition visits with Delegation

By: Deantha Crockett, AMA Executive Director

On August 5, a group of nearly 30 female miners met with Alaska’s Congressional Delegation in Fairbanks to discuss their roles in the industry and the various issues impacting mining operations.

Based on an idea from the national Women’s Mining Coalition, (see the article from the WMC Executive Director, Lynne Volpi, on page 16 of this journal) mining women across the country participated in “Women’s Drive-in” events during the August Congressional recess. Of course, most of the other states truly do conduct drive-ins. In states with high populations, geographically small congressional districts, and plenty of transportation infrastructure to make travel easy, people can simply drive to their local congressional offices for a meeting.

Alaska’s lack of infrastructure and single Congressional representative for the whole state make for a quite different event. For example, one woman could not attend because her flight was weathered in and unable to fly. Typical, for Alaska! However, aside from her absence, the event was quite special. Deantha Crockett with AMA, Karen Matthias with Council of Alaska Producers, and a few mutual board members organized a meeting for all Delegation members to meet with the women at the same time. Upon contacting the offices of Senator Murkowski, Senator Begich, and Congressman Young, a meeting date was selected. The chosen date, however, was early the very next week so planning efforts were kicked into high gear.

Management at the operating mines and large projects were contacted and requested to send one or more women to participate. The existing  WMC group also helped to reach out to Alaska-based women in its membership. The event quickly became successful: in just five days, 26 participants signed up, hailing from all over Alaska and in numerous different mining roles. The event was organized so that each of the women would have a block of time to discuss mining with the Delegation members, and still have time left to network with one another

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