In this year’s edition of Industrial Update we are featuring a few women working in industry.
We spoke to a mining engineer at Gibraltar Mine and a human resources manager at Tolko. You can also read about local loghauler Simmone Fowler in the community section.
Mining engineer Shannon Shadoff has been working at Taseko Gibraltar Mine since September of 2016.
Shadoff grew up in Quesnel and went straight from high school to the University of Alberta to study engineering.
After graduating from the university’s co-op program in May 2015, she worked at a potash mine in Saskatchewan.
“It is always challenging, but you can see the end result and quantify the improvements you are making and that is satisfying,” Shadoff said of why she loves her job. “I work with a large variety of people and a good team atmosphere.”
One of the best things about mining is the variety, she added.
“You can leave a lot of options open when it comes to what you want to do with your degree,” she said. “You can do ventilation, or drill blast, geotechnical work, underground, ground control, rock mechanics, planning or get into the mill side of things. You can do a lot of different things, your not stuck in one particular role for your career and have an opportunity to experience different things and tie it all together.”
Presently Shadoff is a drill blast engineer so she deals with the drills and designs the blasts and spends time out in the pit every day visiting the shovels and drills.
She’s part of the engineer in training rotation so she will do drill blasting for a year, followed by short range planning for a year and then she can do ore control which controls the grades fed to the mill or something else so that she gains a variety of experience.
Her shifts are 12 hours long,which she said are necessary because the job is so busy.
“I have a cross shift who does the same shift as me on the opposite schedule, and we never work more than five days in a row, “ she said.
Looking back, Shadoff said she chose engineering because she wanted to keep my options open and did not feel she was ready to pick exactly what she wanted to do when she was first going to university.
“In engineering you still have flexibility. It’s after your first year that you specialize and that’s when I chose mining.”
Women make up 9.6 per cent of the workforce at Gibraltar, confirmed vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison.
Of the 65 women employed there, 14 are in mining operations, 15 in mill operations, six in mine maintenance, one in mill maintenance, two in electrical mine and mill, three in supply chain, 14 in human resources, loss prevention and accounting, eight in technical services, one in asset optimization and two in environmental.
If she could offer advice to girls in high school it would be not to slight themselves when it comes to math.
“When I was in school there were always girls that had this thing in their head that girls couldn’t do math and they wouldn’t even try,” she said. “Don’t get sucked into that, it’s too early to pigeon hole your self.”