De Beers' Emmarencia Shanglee Talks About Her Experiences as a Woman in Mining

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De Beers' Emmarencia Shanglee Talks About Her Experiences as a Woman in Mining

Metallurgist Emmarencia Shanglee predicts that more women will occupy top leadership positions in mining in the future.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 8:30am

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How long have you been with Namdeb?

I joined Namdeb in 2005 on a bursary and started my career there as a graduate metallurgist in 2008, making this year the ninth year in the company’s service. I am now Assistant Plant Superintendent.

What made you choose Namdeb?

Growing up, Namdeb always had a reputation for being the best mining company to work for. Fortunately, Namdeb invested in me by sponsoring me with a bursary to study chemical engineering, which guaranteed a job upon completion of my studies. The exposure and opportunities I received to date are the reasons I’m still working for Namdeb.

What is your training background?

My degree in chemical engineering equipped me with skills to be able to function in my 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.

What has working for Namdeb taught you?

I have learned that I have good interpersonal skills, which I believe have been developed through my experience in working with people at various levels of the organisation. On the industry’s side, I’ve learnt that the diamond mining industry is challenging yet exciting, with consumer demand for jewellery being one of the main drivers of value.

What are your Namdeb highlights?

One 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).

What is the main challenge you face?

One of the challenges I think most of us working for Namdeb have is separating our lives from our work, i.e. maintaining a work-life balance. The majority of people living in Oranjemund are either employed by Namdeb or provide a service to Namdeb, making it all too easy to have work-related discussions at social gatherings instead of relaxing. 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.

What advice would you give a woman coming to work in the mining sector?

Showcase your technical ability and prove that you can add value to the business. Having self-confidence and a positive attitude are vital. Ensure that you have a mentor early in your career. Although mining is still a male-dominated industry, the percentage of women working in the mining industry is on the rise. With time, I believe more women will occupy top leadership positions in the Namibian mining industry. The difference we, as women in mining industry, make today will inspire the younger generation of women to join the industry in the future.

Do you have a career goal?

I’m passionate about pro­ject management and business im­provement. Eventually, occupying a top leadership position involving these two business areas would be ideal.

Tell us about you

I grew up in Walvis Bay and moved to Oranjemund after completing my studies in Cape Town. My husband and I got married seven years ago and we have two beautiful children aged four years and five months. My non-working hours are extremely precious to me and are therefore dedicated to spending quality time with my family.

Keywords: Diversity & Inclusion | Corporate Social Responsibility | Diversity & Inclusion | Education | Education for Women/Girls | Employee Engagement | Gender Equality | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Women | Workplace Inclusion

CAMPAIGN: De Beers Group's Commitment to People

CONTENT: Blog