Local women continue to champion in the mining industry and Metallurgist Emmarencia Shanglee is lucid evidence of the progress, in the male dominated industry.
Shanglee who has worked for Namdeb for nine years, has gradually moved up the ranks and currently is a Assistant Plant Superintendent.
In her educational background Shanglee studied chemical engineering which equipped her with skills to be able to function in her current role.
“To enhance one’s ability as a metallurgist at Namdeb, there is a metallurgist in training (MIT) programme. As a young professional in that field, one expects to start out designing, managing and optimising processes, but the key lesson I learned during the MIT programme was that human resources are the key to performing these metallurgical processes successfully,” she said.
According to her one of her highlights in her career was leading a project where new technology had to be tested at Namdeb, which was of great importance for all De Beers operations. Another was being able to visit other Anglo American operations abroad (Anglo American is De Beers’ parent).
Working with people at various levels of the organisation, have also made her develop good interpersonal skills which help her in her day to day activities.
“I have also learned that the diamond mining industry is challenging yet exciting, with consumer demand for jewellery being one of the main drivers of value,” she added.
Despite her putting women on the map, according to her the main challenges she faces working for Namdeb is separating her private life from her working life, which means maintaining a work-life balance.
“Maintaining a good work-life balance is a problem for any working woman in today’s world, raising children while achieving your career goals is achievable but can be challenging,” she said.
Advising other, women who want to work in the mining sector, she said women have to showcase their technical ability and prove that they can add value to the business and having self-confidence and a positive attitude is also vital.
“Ensure that you have a mentor early in your career, although the mining sector is still male dominated, the percentage of women working in the mining industry is on the rise and with time I believe more women will occupy top leadership positions in the Namibian mining industry,” she said.
She also believes that the difference women in the mining industry make today will inspire the younger generation of women to join the industry in the future.
Meanwhile for her future endeavours, she would like to pursue project management and business improvement and eventually occupy a top leadership positing involving these two business areas.