I Think Mining Blog, March 26, 2015 by Jack Caldwell
“Goldcorp has announced that it will seek to involve more women in mining. That is admirable. Here are some of my stories of women in mining.
The bravest woman in mining I met was but twenty-eight. She was beautiful and bold. She drove a large truck at a large mine. I had spent two years testing the idea that if we let the tailings freeze, then placed a geogrid, a geotextile, and a layer of light-weight coke, we could ride out over this floating cover. I did all the calculations possible. I tested materials in the lab. I did trial runs. Eventually the fateful day arrived–let us drive a large truck out and see if the predicted one-meter deformation was correct.
None of the male drivers would volunteer. Even though the young twenty-year old bragged about high speeds on highways in his convertible.
She demurely said: “If you will come with me, I will try.”
I sat her and her male colleagues down and explained what I believed would happen: the cover would deform and we would see the level of the tailings aligned with the truck windows. They all blanched. But we persuaded the health & safety folk to stand by on the shore, ready with equipment to pull us out if I were wrong. All her colleagues stood by on the shore as well.
Needless to tell the drive was without incident. All went as calculated and predicted. She drove with precision and verve. I was nervous but simulated calm. I did not like seeing the road sink, the coke bulge, the tailings ooze, the people in anxious, but expectant observation. She did it, and we returned to shore and general acclaim. She will always be my hero and heroine.
Another lady truck driver thereafter offered to take me around the mine in her bigger truck. I did, although I am sure we broke a few rules doing so. But she drove so gently and was so friendly, who could resist.
At the upcoming conference Mine Water Solutions to be held in Vancouver April 12 and following, Lisa Wade of Goldcorp will give a keynote speech onGoldcorp’s Water Stewardship Strategy. I will be there—for Lisa is another of my heroes/heroines. She epitomizes the best of the best. Enough said–come if only to hear her. It will be a seminal event.
Those who have read this blog for a long time probably know that my eldest daughter is involved in mining. Now she works for Geo-logic. Two weeks hence I will be with her at the Escobal Mine in Guatemala to observe the dry stack—for she did most of the detailed engineering and now is time to peer review its status a year after start-up.
I have written many postings on this blog about women in mining. No need to repeat what I have previously said. A summary is this: I have worked for and consulted to many women in mining. And still am doing so. They are without fail great to work for. There is a tender, gentle toughness that males do not have. Plus they are far more intelligent than their male counterparts. It is fun and a challenge to get them the deliverables they need, want, and demand.
Thus I know that Goldcorp is doing the right thing. We applaud them, even though their recent announcement makes it even more frustrating that I cannot invest in them because of work for them and these blog postings.
Simple: if you are a qualified woman seeking to work in mining, seek out Goldcorp. You will do well, I am sure. Let me know how it goes.”