Interview with Ms. Sarah Mojuetan

sarah mojuetan

Sarah Mojuetan gained her geological background from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. It spurred her to take up a job as a Customer Sales Representative in a jewelry line based in Nigeria. Whilst she worked this job, she was curious to figure out how the raw materials (gemstones and precious metals) for jewelry making are extracted from the Earth. She worked in a technical role for over a year and then decided to pursue a Mining Engineering Masters’ Degree at Camborne School of Mines, UK.

Please provide us with a brief background of your current work?

“I serve as a Communications Volunteer at Women in Mining UK, a non-profit organization that promotes the employment, retention, and progress of women in the mining industry. Currently, I’m working on a Research Education Campaign – Systemic Workplace Sexism, which is scheduled to go live in Q3 2021. We see that women are still being discriminated from taking up certain jobs. However, a rule of thumb says “including women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the economic thing to do.”

Tell us about your professional experience in detail please, and how you moved from the beginning to where you are today?

 Embarking on several field trips during my BSc degree in Geology at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, exposed me to different rock types and broadened my understanding of the processes responsible for Earth’s formation. During the course of my studies, I had the opportunity to Intern at Sowsco Well Services Nigeria Ltd. Primarily, I worked in a cementing laboratory and regularly carried out different tests on cement (fluid loss, compressive strength) to ascertain its ability to resist failure and its suitability for oil well casings. Upon completion of my BSc degree, I took up a job as a Customer Sales Representative in Saint Tracy, a jewelry line in Nigeria focused on the commercial side of the business. As part of my job, I often walked clients through their needs and preferred the most suitable product (wedding or engagement rings) to maintain and exceed customer satisfaction. I resigned because I needed a more technical role and after some months, I got a job as a Business Development Executive in Jevant Spencer International Company Limited, an engineering service firm based in Nigeria that specializes in the procurement and logistics of engineering tools and equipment. I was often involved in the delivery and inspection of these machineries to clients’ warehouses. 

Stemming from my Geology background as well as the commercial and technical experience I gained, I was curious to find out how the raw materials (gemstones and precious metals) used in jewelry making were extracted from the Earth and this spurred me to pursue a Mining Engineering Masters’ at the Camborne School of Mines (C.S.M), University of Exeter, UK. C.S.M. has a world-class geoscience and mining department and it provided me a sneak peek of what the Metals & Mining Industry looks like. The Industry is heavily dynamic and the most vital for the economy as metals and minerals (which are mined from the Earth) are the lifeblood of the global industrial production. From the construction of roads, houses, and hospitals to assembling automobiles, computers, and satellites, and all the other many goods consumers enjoy – mining matters. The Energy Transition the world aims to achieve by 2030 will almost be impossible without the Metals & Mining Industry providing the raw materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt needed for clean energy through sustainable mining and mine digitization. My MSc dissertation was on the Impacts and Issues of Climate Change with a focus on the Nigerian Mining Sector and I recommended that the Sector adapts Climate-Smart Mining, an initiative by the World Bank to its operations. 

I currently serve as a Communications Volunteer at Women in Mining UK (I was also one of the recipients of the 2019/2020 WIM UK Scholarships) and I’m in charge of writing and e-publishing technical summaries of our monthly webinars. However, I’m yet to secure a job in the Mining 

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Summarize your company’s business and the current projects that you are involved in? 

I currently serve as a Communications Volunteer at Women in Mining UK (WIM UK), a non-profit organization that promotes the employment, retention and progress of women in the mining industry. 

WIM UK partners with universities that offer mining at the degree level (Camborne School of Mines, Imperial College London) and mining companies (Polymetal International plc) in providing a number of scholarships to young women who have decided to pursue a mining-related degree. The new generation of miners also have the opportunity to take part in summer paid internships at mining companies such as Altus Strategies, Golden Star Resources Ltd and World Gold Council, the market development organization for the gold industry. 

Through the #WIMvoice initiative, we promote greater visibility for women in mining (and mining-related services) on the global conference circuit. We connect with women speakers as well as with event organizers for our educational and professional events which are held on a monthly basis. Discussions at our events cover topical issues such as “the future of mining,” “how consumers are pushing the sustainability agenda,” “career opportunities in the mining industry” and lots more. Currently, our events are being held online due to the COVID-19 restrictions still in place. Under normal circumstances, we also organize physical mentoring dinners. 

Our partnership with Women on Boards UK – WOB UK helps our members on their journey to becoming Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) and very recently, we started offering 10 bursaries to women who are currently working in the UK for the Board CV Masterclass taking place in October and December 2021. 

Our Head of Events and Conference Partnerships, Aymone Schendel who’s also Head of Relationship Management at Natural Resources Forum shared her experience of the WOB UK event she previously attended on her LinkedIn page, while also inviting young miners and women to our June 2021 event: Targeting the Corporate Boardroom – Tips and Inspiration for taking Your Seat at the Table held in partnership with WOB UK. 

“…I attended full of curiosity. Could I possibly be #board material? Am I too young, too inexperienced? I left feeling inspired and encouraged not to think like that at all…” 

Very recently, we entered into a partnership with Geologize Ltd, to help our members partake in the critically acclaimed on-demand course, Practical Geo-communication which is endorsed and sponsored by global leaders and organizations in the geosciences and mining industry, including WIM UK. 

Currently, I’m working on a Research Education Campaign – Systemic Workplace Sexism which is scheduled to go live in Q3 2021. We see that women are still being discriminated from taking up certain jobs. On a personal note, this is subtly becoming my reality. I graduated with a Merit in Mining Engineering from C.S.M. in November 2020, I’m a Communications Volunteer at WIM UK and I haven’t been able to secure a job yet. A rule of thumb says “including women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the economic thing to do.”

How Nigeria’s mining sector can adapt climate-smart mining?

“Climate-Smart Mining is an initiative by the World Bank that supports the responsible extraction, processing and recycling of minerals to secure supply for clean energy technologies while minimizing the climate and material footprint throughout the value chain. It holds the potential for resource-rich developing countries such as Nigeria to position itself to leverage on the evolving commodities (lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper) market responding to a low carbon energy transition. 

Although Nigeria is enriched with colossal reserves of solid minerals, including energy minerals and metals, precious and base minerals and industrial minerals, the laws and regulations on mining and its impacts on the environment are not robust enough to address the growing climatic and environmental changes posed by the mining sector. However, an understanding of the legal and regulatory framework governing Nigeria’s Mining Sector is a prerequisite to unearth the magnitude of the work required for a climate smart sector. 

The mining industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, intensifies the impacts of climate change on natural resources, the environment and local communities, however, the mining industry is at the heart of the development and growth of green energy technologies (solar panels, wind turbines) that are crucial for the reduction of GHG emissions required to keep average global temperature below 2°C. This has buttressed the need for the mining industry to develop environmentally-friendly Climate-Smart Mining to its operations. 

To become climate-smart, Nigeria’s Mining Sector has to integrate renewable energy in its operations, be innovative in extractive practices and waste solutions, efficiently use resources and energy in mineral value chain, adopt a circular economy for low-carbon minerals, leverage carbon finance instruments and have a robust geological data management. These must be conducted under strong governance and adequate regulatory framework and also ensure full-gender and multi-stakeholder engagement.”

Sarah Mojuetan

What Are Your Views On Sustainability In Mine Digitization

Sustainability involves the efficient use of the Earth’s resources to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. The Earth’s resources are required for our survival and it’s our duty to be good stewards of these resources. Sustainability is hinged on three pillars – economic, environmental and social, also referred to as profits, planet and people. 

Mine digitization is the use of computerized or digital devices or systems and digitized data that reduce costs, improve business productivity and transform mining practices. Automated drilling and tunnel boring systems, drones and smart sensors, autonomous vehicles are few digital technologies reshaping the mining sector. 

Driving more rapid innovation towards greater levels of sustainability across the mining sector is very important as it touches the lives of every person, every day on the planet. With deposits becoming lower grade and geologically more complex (i.e more difficult to extract), capital looking to be greener and a redefinition of what profitable means in the age of sustainability and better life quality, it has become an imperative for mining operations to be carried out in an environmentally-friendly way through the use of digital technologies. 

Mine digitization is key to enhancing productivity, safety, sustainability and managing variability in the mining sector. Digital technologies play significant roles in the mining sector by increasing mechanization through automation, building a more comprehensive understanding of the resource base, optimizing material and equipment flow, and monitoring performance in real-time. 

Aligning sustainability and digital strategies is critical to mines becoming climate-smart.

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