Yasmin Ahmed is a Senior GIS Geologist at Gold Pyramid Group Company, involved in field exploration for gold in Egypt. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Zagazig in 2018 and has since worked in the mining industry. The nature of her work in a services company focusing on gold exploration services allows her to engage in large gold exploration projects in multiple phases, between field and office duties, which has given her significant and diverse experience.
Yasmin is considered a pioneer female geologist in the field of gold exploration in Egypt. She is passionate about the tasks assigned to her and always in continuous search for improvement and capacity building. She is a member of the Women in Mining organisations of the UK and South Africa.
By Kathy Sole
You graduated at the top of your class in your undergraduate Geology degree and are now studying for an MSc degree in structural geology and remote sensing. What attracted you to geology? Why did you choose a career in the mining industry?
During my secondary school years, I embarked on studying the comprehensive geology course that is offered in all Egyptian schools. It was during this time that my fascination with geology was sparked, and my thirst for knowledge in this field grew exponentially. I was fortunate to have an exceptional teacher who effortlessly made the subject both accessible and captivating. Without the slightest hesitation, I made the decision to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Geology at the esteemed University of Zagazig.
The field of geology offers a multitude of specializations across various industries, including water management, mineral and petroleum exploration, and economic geology, among others. Among these options, I deliberately chose to specialize in the mining sector, recognizing its promising prospects within my homeland.
When I embarked on my professional journey, the mining activities in Egypt were relatively limited. However, in 2017, I was fortunate to secure a trainee position at Gold Pyramid Group, a petroleum and mining services company lead by CEO Engineer Mostafa Talaat. I was given a golden ticket to join the Gold Pyramid Group’s experienced technical team, before I even obtained my graduation certificate as a trainee. This opportunity ingrained in me the values of professionalism and the significance of incorporating training feedback into one’s growth. I have since dedicated five years to my current position, where I now hold the role of a senior GIS [geographic information system] geologist. This journey has not only solidified my expertise in the mining sector, but has also provided me with invaluable experiences and opportunities for personal and professional development.
What are you most proud of having achieved in your career so far?
The invaluable experiences I have gained within a relatively short period of time from Gold Pyramid Group have had a profound impact on my self-confidence, and have further motivated me to excel in my contributions to both my company and society.
I had the privilege to make a significant impact when Gold Pyramid Group nominated me to present at several prestigious universities as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program, to enlighten students about a career in mining. This opportunity not only added to my own skills’ development, but allowed me to deliver a seminar and presentation aimed at guiding their career decisions and provide supportive advice to overcome potential challenges and encourage more women to join the mining industry.
Most recently, I had the honor of being recognized by the Egyptian National Council for Women on International Women’s Day for my unwavering commitment to supporting and empowering young women. This recognition serves as a testament to my dedication in fostering an inclusive environment and offering guidance to aspiring female professionals.
All these amazing achievements have not only bolstered my self-assurance, but also fueled my determination to make a meaningful impact in the mining industry and society as a whole.
What are you passionate about in your work and find most rewarding?
One aspect of my work that I find immensely fulfilling and passionate about is the nature of the field itself. Being deeply invested in earth science and having the opportunity to engage in the exploration of a highly coveted and precious metal like gold, which serves as a cornerstone of the global economy, brings me great satisfaction. The inherent value associated with gold exploration is undeniable, and it instils a sense of pride in me when I inform others about my involvement in such endeavors.
The significance of gold as a commodity is widely recognized, and the mere mention of being part of the exploration process evokes a sense of admiration. To be able to contribute to the understanding and extraction of this precious metal is a source of personal fulfilment. I am acutely aware of the value and impact of my work, and this drives my passion to continuously deepen my knowledge and expertise in this unique field.
By constantly seeking to expand my understanding and staying abreast of the latest developments, I strive to enhance the quality and effectiveness of my work. This dedication to ongoing learning and self-improvement allows me to maximize my contributions and make meaningful advancements in the field of gold exploration.
What is your experience of being a woman working in the mining sector in Egypt? Do you feel you have had to adapt to ‘fit’ the industry? What has been your most significant challenge?
As a woman working in the mining sector in Egypt, my experience has been shaped by a combination of diverse roles and a strong drive for self-improvement, great mentorship, guidance and unwavering support from industry leaders in my organization. Being part of Gold Pyramid Group has afforded me the opportunity to engage in various projects encompassing both field and office responsibilities. This multifaceted involvement has provided me with extensive exposure and a broad range of experiences, contributing to my professional growth.
My passion for the industry and innate self-motivation have enabled me to adapt well to the demands of the mining sector. This adaptability is evident in the fact that my company recognized my capabilities and promoted me twice within a short span of time, underscoring the quality of my work and the value of my experience. This recognition serves as a testament to my alignment with the industry and my ability to thrive within its dynamic environment.
It is important to acknowledge that being a pioneer female geologist in my society comes with inherent challenges. It has required navigating against certain norms and traditions that are not necessarily accustomed to embracing diversity. Additionally, being away from my family has presented an additional hurdle to overcome. Despite these obstacles, my determination to achieve and contribute to the mining industry remains unwavering. I am steadfast in my commitment to see my country become a leading nation in this sector.
I have actively sought to raise awareness among young women through seminars, technical sessions, and workshops conducted within universities and various events, both virtual and in-person. Through these efforts, I have achieved significant success in promoting inclusivity and empowering aspiring female professionals.
What is your next or ultimate career goal? What would you love to do one day?
My next and ultimate career goal is to ascend to a position of industry leadership and influence, both at the national and international levels. I aspire to be recognized as a pioneer within the mining sector, contributing to its growth and development on a global scale.
Looking ahead, my fervent desire is to witness the continued success and flourishing of the industry. I envision a future where Egypt ranks among the foremost nations in the mining sector, attaining recognition for its significant contributions and achievements.
Specifically, I hope to witness the establishment and operation of numerous gold mines, solidifying Egypt’s presence as a key player in the global gold market.
To realize these aspirations, I remain committed to honing my expertise, expanding my knowledge, and actively participating in initiatives that drive progress within the mining industry. By leveraging my experiences, skills, and passion, I aim to significantly contribute to the advancement of the sector, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on the industry’s trajectory.
Do you have any advice to young women starting out in their studies or careers in this field? What was most challenging for you when you started working?
As someone who has navigated the challenges and triumphs of working in a historically male-dominated field, I do have some advice for young women embarking on their studies or careers in the mining industry.
Firstly, it is crucial to focus not only on academic knowledge, but also on personal development and soft skills. In today’s market, having strong communication, leadership, and problem-solving abilities is highly valued. Balancing theoretical learning with practical experience through applied courses will provide a solid foundation for success. Additionally, leveraging social media platforms, particularly professional networks like LinkedIn, can be immensely beneficial. Building connections with industry leaders, engaging in relevant discussions, and staying updated with industry news and trends can open doors to opportunities and keep you informed about advancements in the field.
It’s important to acknowledge that one of the most significant challenges I faced when starting my career was persisting in using my capabilities to drive change in a culture and work environment that used to be considered “not a place for woman”. However, in recent years we have seen a significant positive change, so my advice is to persevere and remain steadfast in your abilities and contributions.
Embrace your unique perspective and expertise, and actively seek opportunities to showcase your skills and make your voice heard.
Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, allies, and like-minded individuals who can provide guidance and encouragement along the way.
Remember, you have the power to add value to the future of the industry through your determination, resilience, and unwavering commitment to your goals. Embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth, and never underestimate the impact you can make as a young woman in the mining industry.