Major Drilling Women in Mining: Five Women Making Strides in Drilling to Support the Mining Industry

By Friday March 6th, 2020 March 7th, 2020 Blogs

A big part of the future of mining is diversity and inclusion. Major Drilling is developing how women in drilling—an undertapped and much-needed part of the workforce—can grow mining into the future.

In 2020, the world marks March 8 as International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the varied contributions women make to society. To mark the occasion, Major Drilling is highlighting five women who inspire the industry to support, expand and change minds about women in mining and drilling.

Women encompass a critical part of the Major Drilling workforce as members of drill crews and teams working in safety, maintenance, human resources, finance and more. Ben Graham, VP of HR & Safety, recognizes the impact women have on Major Drilling’s success.

“Their contributions have helped make Major Drilling safer, build stronger teams, solve problems, and improve our financial strength,” Graham said. “Women represent a key workforce of the future in mining, and we know their success is an essential part of our overall success.”

Each woman’s image below leads to a special feature profile and more photos of each outstanding Major Drilling Woman in Mining at work. Perspectives like theirs are critical to advancements in the drilling and mining industry. The future of mining includes women.

“We are very proud of the strength that these women and all our female employees bring to Major Drilling,” Graham said.

Simone Félix dos Santos, Underground Drilling Supervisor, Major Drilling Brazil

Kala Cassinelli, Driller Assistant, Major Drilling America

Laura Lee,
Percussive HSEC Coordinator, Major Drilling Canada

Bhing Maglantay, Regional Controller, Major Drilling Asia

Rosario Sifuentes, Percussive Operations Coordinator, Major Drilling Mexico

Changing Minds

A diverse workforce offers different perspectives for improved solutions and for enhancing the bottom line. Still, women continue to face challenges in mining and drilling.

Some of these beliefs are that women should not work in certain sections of a mine. Traditional gender roles can keep women in non-mining roles. Some countries have held policies and laws on mining that are gender biased. For example, before 1960 (except during the Second World War) women were not allowed to work in the mining industry, and they weren’t allowed to work underground before 1978, according to the Canadian Mining Industries Human Resources Council.

The Major Drilling Smart 8 underground core drill features automated rod handling and digital remote controls.

As leadership is not, per definition, masculine, women’s unique abilities should be recognized for the skills they proffer and the balance they bring to the workforce as is the case with Simone Félix dos Santos, Underground Drilling Supervisor for Major Drilling Brazil.

Demanding A New Standard

When talking with women in mining, most agree that innovation and technology is critical to helping women become more involved in the industry. Right now, Major Drilling is developing fully hands-free rod handling solutions with automation built in.

Marc Landry, VP Technology & Logistics, elaborates, “We’re demanding it from ourselves as a new standard. Our ongoing investment in newer equipment sets us apart in the industry. This initiative is opening up great employment opportunities for women at Major Drilling.”

A boon of innovation is how automated rod handling capability puts technology, rather than brute strength, to work. Automation paves the way to better access to mining and exploration work for a critical, underutilized, and burgeoning segment of the labor force—women in mining. As automation encourages more women in the field, it also invites new ways of thinking about old problems with more inclusion and improved diversity.

Automated rod handling is beginning a new normal for less heavy lifting, more digital controls, and fewer safety risks.

The Future for Women in Mining is Now

Inclusion and diversity are values that help drive the quality, safety, and results that are synonymous with Major Drilling. The company is registered in 20 countries on six continents, and has a fleet of more than 600 drills and 2,500 employees. As an established leader in the industry with a well-managed balance sheet, Major Drilling is well positioned to meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s challenges.

As clients’ needs demand it, and with Major Drilling’s commitment to automated rod handling, fortunately, the future for women in mining and drilling is now.

A Community of Women in Mining

Today, women are confronting many long-held beliefs that have precluded them from working in previously male-dominated sectors of mining and drilling, and they’re getting help. Organizations such as International Women in Mining are empowering women. Women are forming mining cooperatives and obtaining government involvement around the world including in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina to increase the education and the overall number of female miners.

Major Drilling is also supporting women in mining through the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop, or S-IMEW, program. This program helps geology students experience hands-on aspects of the mining industry including a field day with Major Drilling.

Each year, PDAC Students join Major Drilling in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, for a hands-on field trip demonstrating how specialized drilling is an important step in mineral exploration. In 2019, more than one third of S-IMEW participants were women.

Drillers work closely with exploration geologists who study core samples to help mining companies look for new deposits to mine, or to help with planning and expansion of existing mines.

Warehouse inventory intern, Namuun Boldbataar (left), participated in an international initiative helping her bring skills back to her native Mongolia that she learned at the Major Drilling USA Division in Salt Lake City, Utah.

For instance, Major Drilling teams worked together with Osisko Mining geologist, Isabelle Roy, throughout the Discovery 1 deep drill hole where Major Drilling made history by achieving the longest diamond drill hole in Canada. Good relationships are important to establish now for and into the future, as women will continue to be an important and growing part of mining and mineral exploration.

Major Drilling values contributions of women who staff traditional roles and supports those who pursue opportunities in the field like HSEC Coordinator for the Canada Percussive Division, Laura Lee.

Demonstrating commitment to diversity and inclusion in mining and drilling, Major Drilling submitted this photo of primarily female PDAC S-IMEW geology students in the 2018 PwC Canada #artinmining photo contest.

Safety, A Core Value

At Major Drilling, every employee is trained to keep safety top of mind. Women are part of the workforce in the office and in the field striving to protect workers and reduce safety risk.

Safety is a foundational part of any successful drilling operation. A new Critical Risks Management initiative is taking prevention strategy to new levels. Joined with TAKE 5, the 10 Lifesaving Rules, and Major Drilling’s ongoing culture of Safety in Action, the CRM program provides controls deemed necessary to prevent potential fatalities, serious incidents and/or injuries that come from most common hazards and risks encountered in daily business tasks.

Several women are featured faces of safety in Major Drilling’s TAKE 5 social media campaign including Rosario Sifuentes, Operations Coordinator for Major Drilling Mexico. The campaign shares real sentiments about safety from people inside the company. Major Drilling is proud to show how women at the company share, protect and exemplify these values.

Sharing faces of diversity and inclusion at Major Drilling is an exciting start to 2020, a year Major Drilling Group International Inc. reflects on four decades of expansion and drilling specialization during its 40th anniversary. Major Drilling will continue investment in equipment, services and inclusion of women in mining to ensure the quality, safety, and results clients expect.

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Visit the profiles of five outstanding Major Drilling Women in Mining by clicking the links below:

Simone Félix dos Santos, Underground Drilling Supervisor, Major Drilling Brazil

Kala Cassinelli, Driller Assistant, Major Drilling America

Laura Lee,
Percussive HSEC Coordinator, Major Drilling Canada

Bhing Maglantay, Regional Controller, Major Drilling Asia

Rosario Sifuentes, Percussive Operations Coordinator, Major Drilling Mexico