For years, women in Mexico were sidelined from mining, due in part to early mining superstitions that bad luck followed after a woman visited a mine. Fortunately, new waves of diversity and inclusion are overcoming long-held folk wisdom as the future of mining moves forward.
In her work as the Operations Coordinator of the Percussive Division-Mexico for Major Drilling, Rosario Sifuentes is adding to a new culture of women in mining. She finds positive challenges in accomplishing clients’ production goals, dealing with delays, problem solving and keeping crews motivated.
“I enjoy having contact with the clients and focus on exceeding their expectations,” she said. “I also enjoy when we are awarded a bid and learn more about the drilling operations.”
Rosario Sifuentes, Operations Coordinator of the Percussive Division - Mexico
Sifuentes is officed in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and interacts regularly with the Major Drilling percussive division in Mexico. She has worked with mine operations at the First Majestic La Parrilla Mine and the Hecla Mining San Sebastian Mine. Both mines are located in Durango, a state in north-central Mexico where Sifuentes was born. She also has visited the First Majestic La Encantada Mine and Agnico Eagle Pinos Altos Mine in Chihuahua; the Yamana Gold Mercedes Mine in Sonora; and the Rio Tinto Kennecott Mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Sifuentes values being part of a rapidly changing industry. The adoption of technology is helping include more women in mining, and statistics are supporting the trend. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography in Mexico, 11% of the total personnel employed in mining were women in 2016, which represented a 3% increase over 2010.
“I think it is important companies consider including more women,” Sifuentes said. “They can have a wider talent pool, different perspectives, increase innovation and creativity, greater profitability and help to seize new opportunities and challenge gender stereotypes.”
Rosario Sifuentes (left) visits underground operations at the Rio Tinto Kennecott copper mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
“For a long time, mining was something exclusive for men because it required physical strength, and in some cultures they had superstitions about women in the mines bringing bad luck,” Sifuentes explained.
When she started working in the mining industry 14 years ago, Sifuentes used her master’s degree and background in accounting and taxes first to support Goldcorp, then First Majestic, Petaquilla Gold, Windstorm Resources, and Taurus Drilling. Like Laura Lee, Sifuentes came to Major Drilling after the company acquired Taurus Drilling. “I am very proud to form part of Major Drilling Group,” she said.
An inherently dangerous industry, mining and drilling has proven a safe and rewarding profession for women and men due to risk assessments, safety management systems like Major Drilling’s new Critical Risks Program, and ongoing training. Sifuentes is adamant about the value of safety for women and men working in mining and drilling. “I have learned the importance of safety—there is no task so important and urgent to be done without safety. This rule applies for work and life.” For a life dedicated to supporting mining and drilling, Sifuentes knows new opportunities through diversity and inclusion are helping women everywhere say, “¡Vivan Las Muejres en Minería!” (“Long live women in mining!”).
Five Women at Major Drilling Making Strides to Support the Mining Industry
In 2020, the world marks March 8 as International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the varied contributions women make to society. This month, Major Drilling is highlighting five women who inspire the industry to support, expand and change minds about women in mining and drilling:
See our full story and features of our other Major Drilling Women in Mining: