Tarralik is pleased to feature Leena Yeates, an employee at Raglan Mine, as the next example in our series on Inuit women working in non-traditional jobs.
Leena recently completed Tamatumani’s Stope School at Raglan Mine and is now a waste remover in underground mining operations. This means she drives a huge truck in and out of the mines to remove rocks.
Leena took the time to answer some questions about her recent training and current employment.
How did you hear about the course and why did you decide to enroll?
Leena: I heard about the course when someone from Raglan Mine came to our high school to present training opportunities for Inuit. Once the presentation was over, I knew right away that I was interested in learning more about the mining industry.
What kind of things did you learn?
Leena: I learned so many things like how to drive standard, how to drive a scoop (underground loader) and how
to load explosives. I was also able to learn a lot about construction like fixing ventilation and water pipes. From everything we learned, my favourite has to be bolting!
Were there many women in the course?
Leena: During my training, there was one other woman whom I made good friends with!
How did it feel to graduate?
Leena: I felt accomplished and proud to officially get certified as a miner, especially as an Inuk woman!
Do you have a job now?
Leena: My current position of employment is driving a 60 tonne [piece of] equipment hauling ore up to the surface.
What kind of advice would you have for women interested in doing a job not considered “traditional” like working in a mine?
Leena: Do it!! Take every opportunity to try new experiences, create a routine and show up with a positive attitude.
Tamatumani, which means second start in Inuktitut, is a program at Raglan Mine that came out of the Raglan Agreement. Since its inception in 2008, it has led to the creation of over 100 positions for Inuit workers in nearly 50 different job types, in 14 separate departments. Its goal is to foster Inuit involvement and employment in mining.