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The work is serious and reliable. There will be many more mining projects

Tatyana Spiridonova was born in one of the key gold-mining regions of Russia – in the Far East, but she got into the mining industry by a lucky chance. Now, having worked as a mine surveyor for 25 years, not only in mining artels and quarries, but also in construction, she cannot imagine her life outside the mining industry. Now Tatyana is the chief surveyor of the Tardan mine in Tuva, owned by Auriant Mining . In an interview with WIM Russia, she talks about her work and how a woman can cope with it.

– When you entered the technical school for the specialty “technician-mine surveyor”, did you already imagine what kind of profession it was?

– To be honest, at that time I didn’t even know what mine surveying was. In general, I wanted to become a dentist, but in the year when I graduated from the 11th grade, there was no enrollment for this specialty. I did not want to wait a year for the next enrollment, and my girlfriend and I decided to go to the geologists, like some of our classmates. And when they came to submit documents, we were told that there is mine surveying – a female profession. They did not explain in detail, they only said that it was necessary to make measurements, calculations. I have always loved mathematics and I thought that, probably, this is mine. In general, we entered there. Now I like my profession, I don’t even know who I could be if not a mine surveyor.

– So what does a mine surveyor do anyway? In simple words.

– Mine surveying is still a specific profession, and, to be honest, it is difficult to describe it in very simple words. When working on a quarry, a mine surveyor exposes the design contours of the quarry on the ground and monitors deviations from the project. In simple words, it transfers the project from the plan to the area. And when the quarry starts to work, that is, mining operations are underway for the extraction of minerals, it controls them: it surveys the situation, takes out the contours of the sides of the quarry and minerals, the places where drilling will take place, calculates the volumes of excavated rock mass. All the progress of mining operations transfers to the plan. It also monitors the deformations of the sides of the quarry and the slopes of the dumps. In short, in fact, the mine surveyor does a lot of other things. In addition, mine surveyors are in demand not only in the field of exploration and mining, but also in construction.

– Probably, you need a certain mindset to work with numbers, plans?

– When I started to study, we needed Bradis tables, calculators, compasses, protractors, ink and pens (drafting) for work. I had to calculate everything myself, enter the length and angles in the log. Then put all measurements on the plan using drawing tools. Now there is no such thing, they think mostly programs, everything is computerized. Of course, there are various difficulties, but when your work is called upon, then everything can be solved.

– On the one hand, as I understand it, it has become easier, on the other hand, modern software itself is quite complex and is constantly changing. Perhaps you have to learn new things all the time?

– I love learning. I think a person needs to learn all the time. And every three years I take refresher courses. If new programs or devices appear in the surveying department, GPS, for example, it is necessary to undergo training. Because in all programs, on all devices, the software is slightly different. So we study – and forward to work. I think it’s interesting.

– That is an interesting profession? Would you recommend to the next generation?

– Yes, it is quite. The work is serious and reliable. There will be many more mining projects in Russia. In addition, mine surveying is in demand not only in mining, but also in construction, in topography, in many places. Although now there are many unmanned aerial vehicles, scanners are different, but all the same, a mine surveyor must control them and process the survey results.

And I can safely say to the younger generation that the profession is very promising: you can start your career as a miner, and end up as the chief surveyor, or even the general director of the enterprise. And while working on the sites, mine surveyors have the opportunity to enjoy all the beauties of nature. There is work for a specialist at any stage of mining development and construction of underground structures, so mine surveyors work in mines, quarries, galleries, and even in the subway. I think that the profession of a mine surveyor will always be in demand in the modern world.

– And how much a mine surveyor is physically hard work for a girl? Tripods, probably, have not gone anywhere yet?

– Yes, and when working with GPS, you still need to carry a pole and a tripod. When shooting, hands get tired quickly. It’s a bit hard for women in this sense. But each mine surveyor is assigned a miner who helps. In general, we manage.

– Do you have experience in mining?

– No never. Even when I worked for a company that had underground mining sites, I was put to work in a quarry. Although I was invited to be the chief mine surveyor specifically for underground mining, I refused, since I had never worked there. Mine surveyors work there with tacheometers and scanners mainly. In the face, I know, scanners are used, because it is dangerous for a person to be there.

I had to go down into the mine. Somehow, when I was still a student, during the practice we were lowered into a mine in the Primorsky Territory (I live almost nearby, I studied at the Blagoveshchensk Polytechnic College). And there, in the mine, even the sounds are strange, I personally felt uncomfortable. Although I have a woman friend who has been working as a mine surveyor in the construction of subways and tunnels for many years.

– Did you study together?

– Yes. But already at the Irkutsk State University, where I received higher education.

– In general, did you have a lot of girls on the course at the technical school or at the university?

– Yes very many. At the technical school, we initially had a group of 40 people, to be honest, only 10 people graduated, of which there were only three boys and seven girls. But only one of them works as a mine surveyor. And I. And the rest went out of their profession. Who got married, who changed their profession.

– I know that you continue to study and are now taking a project management course by correspondence. What opportunities may open up for you after this?

– I mostly study for myself, I’m interested. Although it won’t be superfluous in the profession, but, most importantly, I myself learn something new. I can say one thing: I don’t want to leave the mining industry, I like it, I’m interested, I have worked here all my life and consider myself a good specialist.

– Your company is located in a remote place, do you work on a shift?

– The nearest city, Kyzyl, is about an hour and a half away by car, there is both an airport and a bus station. There are villages nearby. But I do not work on a rotational basis, but on a permanent basis. I just work on my weekends, and then I take time off to go home to the Far East. It happens that for two or three months at work, I accumulate time off, then for a month and a half I go home. It turns out differently. For example, at the end of the year, when I need to make plans for the next year, I stay at work longer. But in general, I’m not tied to any numbers, it’s convenient. While I’m away, district mine surveyors perform my duties. And, of course, I work from home, always on the phone, in touch.

– If you will, is it difficult to arrange a personal life with such a schedule?

– Personal life can be arranged in any profession, it all depends on the person. My opinion: watch is not a hindrance to personal life.

Interfax correspondent Olesya Elkova

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