Like many companies in traditionally male-dominated industries, one of the challenges Goldcorp faces as a company is diversity in the workforce. We aim to provide opportunities that enable women to move past perceived barriers or specific skill-sets, and consider their potential. In the second of our four-part series on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we share Elsa Nielsen’s inspiring story.

At Goldcorp’s Porcupine mine, Elsa Nielsen recently received first place in the International Women in Mining Impact and Influence photo contest. Elsa’s entry beat over 200 inspirational photos that illustrate the significant positive contributions that women are making in achieving an inclusive, thriving, safe and responsible mining industry with her “They thought I couldn’t do it” selfie.  Congratulations Elsa!

In her own words, Elsa shares her story behind the photo:

This picture was taken after a very hard night shift. My co-worker called in sick and the shifter sent me to do the same job both of us were originally lined up to do. He said, “Just get what you can get done”.

So, by myself, I cycled a jackleg slash. I mucked out the round before, I bolted up using a jackleg and a stoper installing 8′ rebar in the back, 4′ rebar in the walls and screened everything. I plotted my slash, marked off my face, and drilled and blasted a slash with the jackleg drill – all by myself. They thought I couldn’t do it. They expected the round mucked out and maybe a couple of bolts in the wall. I actually got an apology out of the blue from one of my male co-workers saying “I always saw your gender first – and that meant there were just some things you weren’t supposed to be able to do… I’m sorry for limiting you.”

My name is Elsa Nielsen, and I’m a jackleg miner.

“I hope my photo and story can serve as a great example of how women are capable of doing physically demanding jobs,” said Elsa. “The only limits we experience should be those that we put on ourselves. I hope this empowers and inspires women to aspire to be more… to do more… even when it requires physical strength.”


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