Andrea Maxey - a director of the Gold Industry Group and Denver Gold Group and AngloGold Ashanti vice president of corporate affairs, community relations and HR - said safety had long been an industry priority but it was in the spotlight given recent sexual harassment cases on various minesites.
She said sites were a community "and we need to create the social supports people need in a normal community as well".
Sally Langer, a non-executive director at Northern Star Resources, the Perth Mint, Sandfire Resources and MMA Offshore, said having a clear strategy was the first of three traits that gave her confidence leaders were setting the right example to an organisation.
"The second trait I see a lot of is courage and when I say courage, it's the ability to have a tough conversation," she said during a panel discussion at a breakfast co-hosted by Deloitte and the Gold Industry Group.
The third was curiosity, a trait she saw in Northern Star executive director Raleigh Finlayson, who was known for stopping to ask questions on his way around sites.
She also cited the ability to bring different ideas into the conversation and embrace diversity.
Deloitte partner, sustainability and climate change services Michael Wood told the gathering despite the pandemic, the commitment by economies and business to emissions reductions had been "nothing short of staggering".
He said an area of concern was China and its planned emissions trading scheme.
"And almost certainly they'll have a tariff," he said.
He said for companies, mitigation meant reducing greenhouse gas emissions but he believed the physical side was more important, relating it back to assets such as enabling infrastructure.
He said data was a "very boring starting point" but customers and end users wanted to know about traceability and emissions reduction.
He said the industry was facing complex challenges, including skills shortages, and collaboration and sharing were important.
"There's an old adage if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together," he said.