@AMiningGirl is a Mining Engineer grad based in Canada. It’s absolutely marvellous to see women in mining, championing other women in the value chain. Which is exactly what she does! Let’s find out more.

Over to you…

The Carat Soup (TCS):
How would you describe who you are and what you do, in your own words?

A Mining Girl (AMG):
As you have already shared, I am a Mining Engineer Graduate based in Canada. I work as a Consultant in what people refer to as the “Mining Hub” of the world. Most of my work includes designing new mines or major projects (i.e. designing changes to existing mines, cost analysis for integration of something new, trade-offs) for large – junior mining companies. Basically any engineering support I can provide to mining companies! I work with a team of experts so there isn’t much we can’t tackle and I am constantly learning as I go. I am one of the youngest members in the mining group with the least experience, I have worked at 2 different mines (gold and iron). But less about work and more about me, I love shiny rocks. Not all are valuable but the excitement is indescribable. I am actively involved in the mining community and love sharing my passion for the industry. (If its can’t be grown, it must be mined). I am pretty bubbly and outgoing, you can usually find me around mine sites with my hair up in a high pony tail or messy bun with something pink on. In my free time outside of work I am generally outdoors with friends and family. I enjoy a very social and active lifestyle! 

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TCS:
In your opinion, does the mining industry welcome women?

AMG:
Women in the mining industry will have varying experiences throughout their careers, so I would hate to answer for all women! However I will speak on behalf of myself. Since I have entered the mining industry I have found myself facing few gender barriers but that being said there are some big ones that need to be broken. Some I will highlight include but are not limited to; lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for petite women, lack of female facilities (i.e. one bathroom stall vs. multiple) and a general lack of female presence (so just a general feeling of being alone or as a target of attention). While the industry is very “keen” on women, there is room for improvement. I’ll give an example of the disconnect between what industry wants and the hurdles which we still face. I was hired by a junior company to work in a mine in a very remote northern location, I was flown into site every two weeks and stayed in a camp. While I was there, I was one of very few women (maybe four or five of us in a camp of four hundred). The bathroom only had one stall, our bedrooms were in hallways of all men and we shared public washrooms which were situated directly outside of the men’s washrooms. While all of this seems trivial it adds up to a feeling of discomfort and frustration, feelings which drive a lot of women away from the industry. My schedule was hardly in line with any of the other women’s schedules, so when I finished my day of work I had approximately two hundred men to spend my time with (the four hundred are split between two camps). If I stepped out of the shower to get to my dry clothes I risked stepping out at the wrong time and a man seeing me in my birthday suit. In isolated areas it seems social accountability is lost and some men make inappropriate comments. For an industry to be accepting of women, we can’t hire them into workplaces that aren’t designed to accommodate both sexes. Men will counter this statement saying that different treatment is not equality, however this isn’t preferential treatment we are discussing. This is proper planning to manage both genders in the industry (we don’t share men’s and women’s washrooms anywhere else and women and men aren’t bunked together in any other societal norm unless they are in an extremely personal relationship), this is a professional relationship we are supposed to share with these men. I believe it is up to management to ensure they have the facilities and amenities to encourage this appropriate and professional relationship between men and women colleagues. As women it is our responsibility to continue expecting this and accepting nothing less. I love what I do and hope any other girl who loves mining feels like she can join the industry but don’t settle. I ended up leaving that job for a variety of reasons and I don’t regret it at all! The mine I returned to was and is a fantastic place to work and has only provided an equal opportunity for men and women. If anyone else in mining ever needs a girlfriend feel free to reach out, I love making new friends!


TCS:
Is it easy to get jobs?

AMG:
The mining industry follows a boom and bust trend. When it’s good it’s great and the rest is usually bad. Fortunately the mining industry seems to be on the upswing, so employment rates are good. The mining industry today is no longer just made up of the miners. As with every industry, the mining industry has a place for everyone! 

TCS:
Explain the current mining industry in Canada?

AMG:
Canadian mining seems to be focusing on industry. It’s a bit hard to explain simply but you can consider it as technological advancement. Everyone wants to be linked in and connected (LTE standard for wireless networks underground, personnel and equipment tracking, remote equipment operation, data tracking etc.). Although all of these things exist already the industry is slow to adapt and change

TCS:
What are your hobbies outside of work?

AMG:
Outside of work I enjoy a lot of different things such as working out, enjoying the outdoors, spending time with family and friends! We have a puppy that keeps us busy and on our toes and a house with lots of renos [renovations]! I am very involved in the mining community outside of work as well,  I manage my blog (sometimes poorly), I am on the executive for WISE (Women In Science & Engineering), as well as on the board for MECA (the Mining Engagement Conference for Advancement)
a new mining conference that will be held in Sudbury in October 2019 – this is an exclusive… I guess the big picture is my life is chaotic!



TCS:
Who is your source of inspiration, personally and professionally?

AMG:
My source of inspiration professionally happens to be the guys I work with. They keep me on my toes with their humour and keep me in line with their professionalism and technical skills.  I am constantly learning and growing as a young professional. Personally I look up to a lot of people, the saying “it takes a village” really resonates with me.

TCS:
What is the last book you read or podcast you downloaded?

AMG:
The last book I read (well half read if I am being honest) is “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***”. The last podcast I listened to was the MFCEO (I’m not sure which episode). If you haven’t listened before its definitely worth the listen, don’t mind the explicit language.

TCS:
What advice would you give to other women who want to work in the mining/extractive industry?

AMG:
I think I spoke of this in one of the earlier questions! I think my number one piece of advice is to expect nothing less. You deserve to be doing what you LOVE. With anything in life make sure you do it and do it good, but don’t let the fear of failure keep you from learning and trying. 

TCS:
Anything else you’d like to tell us before we go?

AMG:
I hope you are all excited and want to learn more about the mining industry. I think it is amazing because if it isn’t grown its mined! Follow me on Instagram or on my blog “A Mining Girl”. I like sharing photos and stories of my adventures in the mining industry, as well as interesting mining facts. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions 🙂 Although I am not yet an expert I will do my best to find someone who knows the answers and share them!