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Simone Félix dos Santos: Leading Above and Beyond, Supervising Below

By March 6, 2020October 5th, 2022No Comments

By definition, leadership is not a masculine trait. That point is personified in Major Drilling Brazil Underground Supervisor, Simone Félix dos Santos. She is recognized not only for her skills, but also for the balance she brings to the workforce.

When 33-year-old Santos joined the Major Drilling Brazil team in March 2018, she arrived with 11 years of experience as a safety technician. By December of that year, Major Drilling Brazil Operations Manager, Gaspar Ferreira, assigned Santos to be an Underground Drilling Supervisor, making her the first woman leading a men-only team at Major Drilling Brazil. She would later learn she was the first female underground drilling supervisor in Major Drilling history.

“The decision to change Simone to Operations is because of her commitment to the job,” said Ferreira. “She is persistent and has the will to learn more, and these are essential qualities to lead a drilling crew.”

Santos appreciates the opportunity. “I am very grateful to Mr. Gaspar…who always believed in my professional potential,” Santos said. “Major Drilling is a big company, and I’m very proud to be part of this team.”

Simone Félix dos Santos, Major Drilling Brazil Underground Supervisor

Simone Santos (center) poses for a photo with Major Drilling President and CEO, Denis Larocque (center right), and her underground drilling team in Brazil.

Santos’ team provides subsurface and surface drilling services for partner Ero Copper Corporation, which has owned the Mineração Caraíba Mine, located in northern Bahia, since 2016. From the first day of her duties, she recognized the growth opportunity the position offered and the tests it would bring.

Santos explains, “My biggest challenge at first was to face some prejudices and make people understand that women are fragile, yes, and at the same time very strong, capable and intelligent.”

Santos says her biggest contribution to the company is her commitment to keep employees working safely, without risk of accidents. She always works with focus on the safe behavior of her team to produce with quality and safety.

In March 2019, Major Drilling President and CEO, Denis Larocque, visited the Ero Copper project to discuss adding more rigs to the project and was photographed with Santos and her drilling team.

Later, Santos was featured on Major Drilling’s social media channels as one of its featured faces of safety in a campaign centered on TAKE 5, a life-saving risk assessment program.

“I am very proud to be the first woman underground supervisor for Major Drilling,” Santos said. “I will not forget the day they put a picture of me on Major Drilling’s social networks talking about this moment. I will keep these memories to show to my children and grandchildren.”

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 here and features of our other Major Drilling Women in Mining: