Welcome to the MiningDiaries!
My name is Stephanie Saliba. I’m the person behind this blog and here’s a little more about me and why I love mining. (NB: If you just want to know more on the blog, don’t feel guilty to jump to the last paragraph!)
Ever since I joined the McGill mining engineering program in 2012, I developed a great passion for the mining industry. Mining isn’t limited to only digging the ore and operating the mine. It’s an industry full of challenges, adventures and discoveries. My role as a future mining engineer will be to find more sustainable ways of extracting the minerals and metals that make up your phone, your car, the clothes you wear and even your rooftop solar panel! Mining products are all around us and like the saying goes “if it isn’t grown, it has to be mined”.
The mining cycle that brings a mine to life from ground zero to closure is a long and challenging process that involves geologists, civil, mining and environmental engineers, miners, managers, financial analysts, consultants as well as government officials and local communities. One of the major challenges for miners is finding ways to make their operations more sustainable, not only environmentally but also socially and economically. Although progress has been made, the industry still has a long way to go to reach the point where their operations will be carried out in a responsible way such that positive impacts on different stakeholders are maximized. This is a major challenge because miners also have to face the cyclical aspect of the commodities price from which they depend greatly. If commodity prices go up so do profits, if commodity prices go down, miners need to decrease their spending to remain economical.
There’s another aspect related to the industry that I find hard to believe and that’s the fact that are not nearly half as many women in mining as there are men. There are a few reasons I can think of to explain that fact: first, mining has traditionally been seen as a more masculine field; in fact it’s not more than 30 years ago that women were allowed to go underground in Australia. Second, mining requires more sacrifices on a woman’s part than other industries do. Mining operations are usually located hours from anything and building a family this way doesn’t appeal as the most attractive option. There have been more women joining the mining industry in recent years and they are bringing fresh and different approaches to the traditional way of mining. Moreover, women have a way of thinking that is typically more considerate of the environment and the stakeholders involved, which can ultimately lead to more successful projects. So it is in the industry’s best interest to attract more women in mining.
To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure of what I was getting myself into when I choose a career in mining. Not only I didn’t have a role model, I had never seen a woman in coveralls working onsite. And that’s what inspired me to create this blog. I want to help future mining students, as well as anyone who wants to know more about mining, have a better idea of what it is to be part of this industry today.
This blog is a journey of my experiences in the mining industry. I share on the conventions I went to, the mines I visited, and give tips to current mining students around the globe. I named the blog the MiningDiaries because I want it to include the experiences of other female professionals involved in mining as well. The purpose is to break some of the misconceptions that exist around women working in the mining industry. If you have any questions or would like to discuss a particular subject, don’t hesitate to write to me by clicking here. You may also connect with me on LinkedIn.