Diggers and Dealers’ informal corporate culture of skimpies taken to task at elite mining event

Updated August 10, 2018 13:28:40

With more women involved in the mining industry, the ‘old boys’ culture of skimpies at industry events — more often the informal events, these days — is being questioned.

Every year, thousands of people descend on the outback goldrush city of Kalgoorlie for Diggers and Dealers, one of the world’s premier mining conferences.

Caterers are flown in, huge tents are erected, and many locals rent out their houses — at hugely inflated prices — so there is enough accommodation for delegates.

But behind the corporate gloss are backroom deals and boozy nights which have given the conference an air of infamy.

While skimpies, or scantily-clad barmaids, are not part of any official conference proceedings, they fly in to the city to entertain, flirt and pull beers where informal networking occurs after hours.

Diggers and Dealers current chair Nick Giorgetta and his team have been trying to distance the forum from the wild nights that had made it famous.

He said the conference had a bad reputation for skimpies and the periods of drinking known as “swim-throughs”, but that those years had long passed.

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