When Veronica Moratuwa De Koker applied for a job as a drill rig operator, little did she know that she was making history as part of an all-female drill crew at Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore Mine in the Northern Cape.

The all-female drill crew was trained by drilling contractor and technology provider Rosond as part of a R2 billion multiyear agreement to develop and implement a next-generation drilling contract. The partnership is a culmination of a long-term relationship between Rosond and Anglo American that spans 40 years.

Growing up in Dingleton, De Koker’s interest in the mining industry was piqued by dump trucks deployed at nearby Sishen. “I was ready for that challenge, as I wanted to see what was happening at the mine,” she says.

Prior to this, De Koker was unemployed and staying at home. She explains that working in the mining industry had always been a dream of hers. “I just wanted a career [in the industry].” A lack of financial assistance hindered her from furthering her studies after matric and ultimately pursuing her dream.

Securing a job as a drill rig operator not only changed De Koker’s employment status, but created an opportunity for her to work in the mining industry like she had always dreamt. “I was excited and happy. I wanted to cry and didn’t know what to do with myself,” she says.

This story was first published in the latest issue of Inside Mining magazine.

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