(Xinhua) -- Safety helmets, overalls, safety shoes
and lab coats are what Catherine Shifotoka, and Iyaloo Amadhila
wear on a daily basis at a Chinese-owned mine in Namibia.
Twenty six-year-old Shifotoka works as
a Junior Metallurgical Engineer, while Amadhila, 27, is a
Chemist at the Husab Mine, one of China’s biggest single
investments in Africa, and over the years the duo has managed to
climb the ladder from trainees to their current positions.
Shifotoka studied Bsc (Honours)
Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Namibia, while
Amadhila graduated with a BSc Degree in Chemistry and Geology
(Honours) in 2015 at the same university.
Upon completion of studies the two
were enrolled at the graduate trainee program at the Husab mine
for two years.
“I have been with the mine for two and
half years now, of which the two years I have been a
Metallurgical Engineering Trainee and successfully completed my
training program. I am currently employed as a Junior
Metallurgist,” Shifotoka told Xinhua in an interview.
According to her, when she started the
career at the mine, she had been actively involved in plant
operations. Part of her daily tasks involved analyzing and
interpreting performance trends and variances and subsequently
initiating the required changes in the plant.
“As a young and dedicated Metallurgist
over the two year training program, I was privileged to have met
and worked with some of the best project engineers the world has
to offer. I was quite fortunate to have been involved in such a
distinguished and diversified project,” she added.
Shifotoka told Xinhua that since then
her growth at the uranium mine has been huge.
“I gained hands-on experience on the
entire processing plant circuit, with extended insights on the
processes which play an extremely huge aspect on the recovery of
uranium from the ore we receive from mining,” she explained.
According to Shifotoka, her plans are
to continue growing and build her career.
“I would like to continue contributing
to the effective concentration and purification of uranium
production by continuously developing new methods to increase
uranium concentration in solution streams,” she said.
Amadhila, one the other hand, told
Xinhua that upon completion of her studies in 2015, she got
employed at the mine as a graduate Chemist.
“In this role, I went through a
training program for two years which groomed me and allowed me
to pick up the skills, expertise and technical know-how required
for my current position,” she added.
During her training she picked up a
lot of experience as she was involved in exciting projects such
as the setting up of the lab.
“This was a great experience as it
allowed me to learn from my seniors and practically apply the
theoretical knowledge gained at university. Upon successful
completion of my program, I was then promoted to Chemist,” she
Amadhila said working for the mine has
been a great opportunity and she feels privileged to be part of
such a dynamic team of individuals from all walks of life.
According to the two young women,
since the development of the mine, its contribution towards
employment creation, skills transfer and the country’s economy
as a whole has been stellar.
“Being part of the employees at the
mine has improved the economic situation of many people and in
doing so, contributed to the country’s economic growth. I
believe that Husab mine has made great strides in the
development of semi-skilled, skilled and professional employees.
The graduate internship program is a classic example of this,”
Despite the various challenges
associated with the mining industry, the two young ladies are
convinced that if they continue to work hard, they can
significantly contribute towards the overall performance of the
mine as well as gain exposure to other areas of the operations.
Currently the Husab mine is one of the
biggest uranium mines in the world. Permanent employees at the
mine were numbered at 1,620 by the end of 2017, in addition to
176 temporary employees and 522 contractors.