By OK-Tedi Mining Media Centre
Selina Haoda was a small-town girl who grew up dreaming of fixing and operating machinery and equipment.
Who knew that one day she would lead a team of Instrument Technicians in the longest running open-pit copper, gold and silver mine in Papua New Guinea.
Now a newly appointed Supervisor Crusher Instrumentation leading a team of four in a male-dominated field, Selina is the first Tradeswomen Supervisor, First Tradeswomen Supervisor from Western Province, and the First female Supervisor Instrumentation, under the Processing Electrical Maintenance Department.
Selina started her early education at Morehead Primary School, located in one of the most remote places in South Fly, Western Province towards the Indonesian Border.
She made it to Daru Secondary School and continued her studies at the Port Moresby Technical College undertaking a Certificate in Trades – Electronics.
Not only did she pass but secured a Higher Education Contribution Assistance Scheme (HECAS) Scholarship relieving some financial burden off her parents. Selina’s greatest motivator was her late Uncle Mervyn Haoda, a Refrigeration mechanic, who was very good at his job and inspired her to take up a Trade.
However, she chose to study Electronics because of the change in technology. Her potential to excel in the trade came 14 years ago when she realised she was one of only two females out of 30 apprentices selected through the OTML Apprenticeship Program in 2009. She recalled the day the administration assistant called to advise her that her flight was booked from POM to Tabubil.
The humble rural girl laughed and said she resided in Daru. Today, with her hardhat on, her role is to supervise and monitor work performed by her team.
“In the field of Instrumentation, our responsibility is to install, calibrate, monitor, repair and maintain various monitoring devices (sensors / transmitters) for machinery, human life and the process itself. The scope of my role covers the crushing and conveying system, which is the primary stage of the process where the mine haul trucks deliver ore.”
She said the process of getting accurate measurements is challenging.
“We work with heavy equipment in varying weather conditions day and night. For instance, if we do not calibrate the crusher precisely, we feed the wrong size ore downstream, this affects the process and we lose money. As for human life, if I do not calibrate a gas monitor properly someone could die from exposure to high levels of harmful gas. This is why instrumentation is so important we have to ensure it is done correctly,” she said.
“What makes it more challenging for me as a female, is balancing my work and home responsibilities,” she added.
As the first female tradeswomen Supervisor her advice to other tradeswomen colleagues is, “You are a qualified tradeswoman, believe in yourself and step up. Do not expect special treatment out in the field, be patient, work honestly, ensure good quality work, and always respect your colleagues. These attributes and other values will speak volumes about your performance.”
Selina admires her team and manager for inspiring the younger generation while acknowledging the amount of teamwork they put in, the humility each member possess, respect and the attitude of looking out for one another’s safety.
“They are basically my family away from home.”
Her advice to young women of Western province is “If I can come this far from a rural area, you can do even better. Do not make excuses, work smart and be determined to achieve your goals. Put God first and never forget the people who contributed meaningfully to your life and helped you to get to where you are,” she concluded.
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