One of Women in Mining United Kingdom’s (WIMUK) global top 100 most influential women in mining in 2020, Australian Dauareb Wuthathi woman, Florence Drummond, says the mine-site accommodation business she co-founded this year has moved quickly to meet burgeoning demand for remote housing in Western Australia.
Kara Ged – which means ‘my home’ in Drummond’s grandfather’s language, Meriam Mir – is understood to be close to signing its first contract.
Drummond formed the business with Chinese-born Judy Zhu. She says a strong pipeline of resources projects in WA is fuelling market growth. Australia’s wider rural and urban housing problem is also in Kara Ged’s sights.
“The increased demand for access to reliable supply of lifestyle modular solutions is where we can see our point of difference to maximise our potential across our design and delivery,” Drummond told InvestMETS.
“With my personal experience of camp living, we look forward to ensuring we incorporate safeguards for our new camp builds in response to feedback of social challenges that we currently face in industry.”
Drummond and Zhu have bootstrapped Kara Ged, which supplies prefabricated housing units produced in China. Drummond says she’d like the company to be in a position to execute its phase-two growth plan focusing on easing social housing pressures within two years. Kara Ged has also partnered with drone technology company, DJI, to offer surveying, mapping and data collection services to the mining, construction, agriculture and emergency services industries.
“The extension into our DJI drones space will help us understand further how to improve our dynamic approach to creating solutions on site,” Drummond said.
A co-founder of Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia (iWIMRA) who recently took on her first board role with an ASX-listed company, Taiton Resources, Drummond has been a vocal advocate for mining industry employment opportunities for indigenous people, and women.
A strong motivation for starting her own business was introducing to women, particularly indigenous women, an entrepreneurial model that fitted with shifting market trends. She believes miners’ increasing focus on procurement from local and indigenous enterprises can be a tailwind.
“We strive to be the change we wish to see, to diversify the value chain and to assist industry with early investment of indigenous procurement of their projects to meet their contractual obligations,” she said.
“If we were to build your camps, that’s a substantial investment back into the indigenous economy.”
During Drummond’s early years as a machine operator with Rio Tinto, she realised there was no accessible forum for indigenous women to come together and support each other with any work-related concerns, as well as issues such as continuing cultural practices at work and social challenges impacting job retention.
She started iWIMRA in 2017 with a strong focus on raising the profile of indigenous women in the sector.
“Racism is still a huge barrier for us,” Drummond said.
“What we have in our control though is the platform to educate.”
iWIMRA is working on annual sponsorship of 10 people to undertake the company director’s course to encourage more indigenous leaders in mining.
“It’s about an holistic approach in co-creating pathways in the corporate space,” Drummond said.