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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 on Goldcorp’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.

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As a US taxpayer I am at loss to understand how $1 million dollars can be sent to Peru to deal with illegal mining.  Here is a link to one report on the US taxpayer-funded largesse.  The report notes:

The U.S. Department of State awarded US$1 million to the Blacksmith Institute to work with Peru’s Ministry of Environment (Minam) to reduce the use of mercury and design remediation plans in Madre de Dios and Puno, it was announced today.

The United States believes it is crucial to support the Peruvian government strategy to combat illegal mining and reduce mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Where is the Tea Party when we need them?   Have they nothing to say about this blatant waste of money to support a lousy government unable to manage it own affairs?  The only explanation I can come up with is that somebody related to somebody or indebted to somebody has managed to arrange this and is being paid a considerable percentage of the funds.  Smells rank & corrupt to me. (more…)

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A typical Vancouver Saturday:  cool, overcast, some sunny periods, and much reading.   Then after six pm a bottle of wine and an opera. Here are some of the books I dipped into today–I have been reading some for a while; some are old and should have been finished a long time ago; and some are new.  For I am a dipper, i,e., someone who picks up a book, reads part, and then picks up another to read part, as the fancy & interest turn. (more…)

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In an upcoming EduMine course on Risk Assessment, Decision Making, and the Management of Mine Geowaste, we write the following on the topic of Net Present Value (NPV): (more…)

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I get many pleas for help in finding a job in mining.  Most I refer to Careermine.  For that is the site that lists every possible job in mining.  Yet this one caught my attention, for it is a story of love.  At least I think so.  I have the sender’s permission to post what she sent me.  Here it is. (more…)

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A story from the mid-1970s.  A story of the early days of Steffen Robertson and Kirsten, now SRK. Soon after joining the company in the first offices in Johannesburg, Oskar Steffen was faced with a problem.  His clients complained that the Steffen Robertson and Kirsten reports were too long and nobody read them.  This was bad news, for we slaved over the reports.  Each was handwritten in pencil or ink and then typed by a bevy of typists.  You had only one or two chances to edit and improve them.  So each was a gem, in our minds, of devoted labor.  The idea that nobody read them was devastating. (more…)

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Last week I needed to brush up on stability analysis of waste rock dumps or embankments as they are sometimes called.  I went to the obvious sources: EduMine.  I opened the course Design  and Operation of Large Waste Dumps by Tim Eaton and Scott Broughton. In the section on Analysis they present a masterful description of the various failure modes and how to analyse them. They add this on probability of failure: (more…)

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