At our Lomas Bayas copper mine in Chile, we are committed to increasing the number of women in our workforce and helping to foster gender equality in the mining industry. In 2012, we launched an initiative called Mujeres a la Carga (or "women in the driving seat"), which seeks to increase the number of female operators on our heavy equipment teams. This programme of training, mentoring and on-the-job learning attracted 20 local women in 2012.
Celia Yáñez was born and bred in the Antofagasta region and is the daughter, sister and wife of truck drivers. Heavy machinery has always played a big part in Celia’s life. In 2012, Celia decided to apply for the programme, as she already had experience in driving dump trucks and backhoes for a construction company. Since graduating from the programme, Celia has been working at Lomas Bayas as an extraction equipment operator, driving heavy mining trucks.
"In the first year we progressed through several stages. After 5 months of demanding theoretical and practical courses, we started to drive trucks in August 2012. All my attention was on the safety measures and, at the beginning, it was difficult, but now I don’t have any problem and, since January 2013, I’ve been driving on my own. That makes me very happy."
Celia has had the support of her husband and her children, aged 14 and 10, as well as her mother, who helps take care of the children while she is working.