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Meet Juanita Flórez, Resources Lead at Cerro Matoso

15 JUNE 2024

To mark the International Day of Women in Mining we caught up with Juanita Flórez, one of the amazing women at our Cerro Matoso operation in Colombia.

Juanita told us about her role at South32, her experience as a woman working in mining and how she thinks inclusion and working together are key factors in creating gender equality.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a geologist and graduated from the National University of Colombia in 2006. I have been working in the mining industry over 16 years, mainly in the metals exploration area. I have had the opportunity to evaluate and understand a wide range of deposits and geological environments in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

I enjoy being challenged and solving problems, and I’m always looking for new ways to optimise current processes. 

During my time at Cerro Matoso, I have had the opportunity to apply my knowledge as a geologist to improve processes and procedures as well as increase the geological understanding of the deposit here.

What is your role at South32 and what does a typical day look like for you?

Currently, my role at Cerro Matoso is Resources Lead. In the Resources area, we oversee a wide range of processes from exploration planning, drilling and database analysis to geological model generation and resources estimation. For me, a typical day includes meetings with my team, field interactions and information analysis.

What challenges have you faced as a woman working in the industry?

My biggest challenge has been to show that in the workplace, sensitivity doesn’t mean weakness. In my case, sensitivity and empathy have allowed me to develop closer relationships with people, which helps meet targets, make firm decisions, and overall adds value to the company.

Can you share a career highlight with us?

I’m proud of leading the Resources team at Cerro Matoso. The team is made up of a diverse group of people that are highly technical. 

We have successfully completed a series of exploration campaigns, drilling activities and model generation without people being injured. This is something I’m very proud of.

The International Day of Women in Mining 2024 theme is ‘I am Mining and I Belong’. It’s a reminder of the diverse individuals who contribute to the industry and the importance of creating a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. What does this statement mean for you?

It’s great to see that the mining industry is changing, and women play a very important role in it. ‘I am Mining and I Belong’ for me, means that we as women are involved in solving challenges and decision making. This direct involvement is key to successfully building a better work environment and ultimately, gender equality.