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Women in Mining: Lindsay Martin

Mom proves her worth underground

Lindsay Martin, underground scoop operator, Goldcorp.

Lindsay Martin is proof that women can be both a mom and a miner.

The underground scoop operator at Goldcorp’s Dome Mine in Timmins even has a photo of her son Reid, as a newborn, on the cover of the 2011-2014 collective agreement.

“I was involved in the collective bargaining in 2011 and I was nine months pregnant. He was born the day I signed the contract,” she said. “I didn’t get the chance to present the agreement to the members though. I was in the hospital then.”

Martin has worked for Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines for the past eight years. She operated heavy equipment on the surface at the Pamour Pit, but when it closed, she transferred underground.

“I did have a lot of apprehension at first about going underground, and I still do to some extent, but it is a good place to work. It’s a great atmosphere and my male coworkers have been great,” said Martin. If there were any sentiments from the older miners that women didn’t belong underground, or that it was bad luck to have them on the cage, they soon changed their minds.

“They really took care of me because I would be the same age as their daughters, so I had an easier go,” she said.

A self-professed tomboy and not “a lipstick kind of girl,” Martin sometimes accompanied her father when she was younger to his work as a heavy-duty mechanic.

“When I saw the money you could make, with heavy equipment, I just stuck with it.”

She works shift work, which can be challenging for a single mother. When she came back from maternity leave, she was on eight-hour days. Now she has gone back to shift work, but on steady days.

“Goldcorp has really accommodated me and that has been a godsend for me. It’s hard to find child care on nights,” said Martin.

While her career choice is non-traditional, she would recommend it to any woman contemplating a wellpaying job.

“Most women don’t think about this. I know growing up women didn’t think about this field because it is male dominated, but it is a good avenue to go into. In high school and college, girls were steered to teaching or something more traditional, so this field was never mentioned to the females. I got into it because of my dad. You don’t have to count on the men because you can do it yourself,” she said.

The work is physically demanding and requires strength. Martin said it is also important to be able to take the constructive criticism.

“Being a woman in this field, sometimes you have to be twice as good as the males, but that is only because they have to be sure you can do the job. I never had any qualms about asking for help and never had a hard time from anyone,” said Martin.

She is content in her career and sees herself doing it until retirement.

“I never feel like I have made a mistake. And for the amount of money I make, I certainly can’t complain.” She and two other women were the first three females to go underground and all still work there.

“Going underground is definitely an adjustment. It is not that hard, though, and is just another work environment that you can get used to. There is a risk involved, but there are risks with anything and you just need to be careful and take care of yourself, your partner, and the others you work with.

“All around, it is just a nice place to work.”

www.porcupinegoldmines.ca

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