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Women in Mining UK 2022 Summer Internship at Centamin PLC – Maame Opokua Debrah

By 17/02/2023News

London – 17 February 2023:  Women in Mining UK  2022 Summer Internship at Centamin PLC – Maame Opokua Debrah

Written by: Maame Opokua Debrah

Under the auspices of Women in Mining UK (WIM UK), I received the opportunity to participate in an eight-week internship programme in Geology with Centamin PLC, a FTSE 250 gold miner and one of WIM UK’s Industry Partners. My internship took place in November and December 2022 at Centamin’s Doropo exploration project in Côte d’Ivoire.

To help advance the careers of women in the mining industry, WIM UK collaborates with mining firms to give young women the opportunity to thrive in the mining industry through internship programmes and employment. It was under one of such programmes that I had the privilege to do my internship with Centamin.

Centamin is a well-established and robust mining firm with a flagship asset in Egypt and an advanced gold exploration project in Côte d’Ivoire. Driven by operational excellence, the company has a culture of investing in people and talent development with the aim of creating value for its stakeholders.

The Doropo project is in the north eastern part of Côte d’Ivoire and this is where I spent my eight weeks. At the Danoa campsite, I had the privilege of working with skilful geologists and learned about many of the facets of exploration. Undoubtedly, the eight weeks at Doropo will remain one of the most educative and fulfilling opportunities in my life.

Abraham Tesfu, the Exploration Manager for Côte d’Ivoire, who graciously gave me the opportunity to join his team, as well as Sue Bannister and Amanda Cotton, who worked tirelessly to make this internship a reality, deserve a special thanks.

My first week with the team was spent becoming acquainted with the Doropo project, including the surface exploration targets, geology updates and progress, and basic knowledge of the type of geology in the area. Each phase of the exploration programme is distinct and I developed a grasp of what the diverse operations involved, from mapping to resource estimation. I spent some time getting acquainted with the various geological applications utilised for exploration, including Micro-mine and Datamine MapInfo, which are useful in the compilation, mapping and analysis of spatial data in mineral exploration, and Acquire, which is used as a database management system to store data collected in the field. Towards the end of my internship, I received an in-depth introduction to Micro-mine and MapInfo from one of the project geologists on site. I was amazed by the extensive planning that went into each procedure to ensure the project ran smoothly.

Tasks I was assigned included a core drilling exercise and interpreting sections. My first stop was at the core shed, where all the core from the diamond drilling is kept while catalogued and analysed. All samples are processed in a laboratory just a few metres from the core shed and then shipped to a lab in Abidjan for further analysis. I learnt how to do lithological, structural and specific gravity logging of cores. I was also shown how to represent the lithology and alteration of the cores on a log sheet and how to measure the alpha and beta angles of lithological structures.

Luckily, I arrived at the site as the team was mapping out and planning the Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling so I got a front-row seat to the process. I assisted a seasoned exploration geologist in monitoring the drilling operation and documenting the results of the holes drilled. Later, I had to take on the job of supervising a single RC setup. I was responsible for coordinating the alignment for rig placement, quality assurance and quality control component insertion, sample tracking and overall monitoring. The interpretation of the sections revealed the location of mineralised zones and the direction of mineralisation. Auger drilling commenced as the RC drilling was finishing and I had the opportunity to assist in the planning of the programme and map creation.

The mining industry is still predominantly male-dominated despite the great initiatives taken to integrate more women. However, the sector is becoming more desirable to women due to the enormous efforts made to promote inclusiveness and diversity. This short but fulfilling internship has given me the opportunity to have first-hand information and practical experience in mining and exploration from, in my opinion, one of the best mining companies in the world. The experience has also given me the foundation upon which to build my career as a geologist or in a related field in this vast industry.

I am motivated to use my experience to help more women pursue mining as a career. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me in the mining business.