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Professional talk: Ndapandula Kaulikufwa, geologist at Rössing Uranium – Dare to dream, girl from Namibia

Not only is she breaking the patriarchal bearers of society in a male-dominated field, but Ndapandula Kaulikufwa is consolidating her position with merit while creating endless possibilities for Namibian girls, proving that heaven is indeed the limit.

Due to the intense physical work, mining has been men’s playground.

Ndapandula is the last living testimony of Rössing Uranium’s success stories.

The resilient Ndapandula recently joined the Namibian uranium giant and, with no intention of getting off to a slow start, has hit the ground running.

She said: “My role is to supervise and manage the exploration drilling programs and all associated activities to ensure that milestones are met at the level of geology, geotechnics, hydrology and hydrogeology studies to provide an adequate level of inputs to other streams. of study and achieve the general objectives of the business development department.”

The geologist said her goal in her new role is to work closely with other geologists, engineers, surveyors and stakeholders to share knowledge, exchange ideas and contribute to the overall success of the exploration project.

She began her mining career in 2012 as an exploration geologist.

There, he rolled up his sleeves in planning and managing geochemical sampling programs, as well as managing drilling operations that have produced attractive gold prospects.

He said: “One of the most exciting parts of being an exploration geologist is discovering valuable mineral resources that can have a significant impact on economies and create job opportunities for many.

“Exploration geologists often have the opportunity to work outdoors in a variety of beautiful and diverse areas, both locally and globally. This is incredibly rewarding to appreciate nature while traveling and learning about new cultures,” he stated.

He added that determining exploration techniques and the challenge of evaluating geological data is a very intellectually stimulating task.

Geological exploration generally carries a significant amount of risk and uncertainty.

Exploration activities often take place in remote or rugged terrain, which can pose logistical challenges and require geologists to work in adverse environmental conditions.

However, says Ndapandula, “despite large investments of time, money and resources, there is no certainty that economically viable mineral deposits will be found when exploration is carried out in an unexplored location.”

Furthermore, he highlighted market volatility and economic pressures as key influences in the mining sector.

“The exploration sector is vulnerable to changes in the price of raw materials and the state of the economy. During crises, this can result in job instability or cancellation of projects, which can be stressful as it impedes career advancement.”

Like any other girl in the village, Ndapandula enjoyed a normal life in a village known as Onheleiwa. She remembers walking through the hallways of Iipumbu Secondary School in Oshakati, where she completed Grade 12.

She was accepted to the University of Namibia on a foundation science program for one year before moving to the main campus in Windhoek to pursue her geology studies a year later.

“Being a student at the university was a completely new page. This included new environments, challenging courses, increased class sizes, and more independent learning styles. This in addition to balancing my personal and academic obligations.” Luckily for her, fresh out of college, she got a job in mining.

“The transition from university to working as an exploration geologist involves a shift from academic theory to practical application, from isolated study to teamwork, and from controlled conditions to dynamic field work. Therefore, to succeed in this demanding but rewarding industry, adaptability, problem solving and a passion for discovery are required.”

According to Ndapandula, exploration geologists play a crucial role in identifying potential mineral resource targets and discovering mineral deposits such as gold, silver, iron, uranium and rare earths (lithium, lead, etc.).

Exploration geologists are also involved in the discovery and production of energy resources, such as oil and natural gas.

The mining industry is opening up to more women and Ndapandula believes opportunities are at every stop.

Women interested in geology have additional education and training possibilities. Universities and colleges are recruiting and assisting women interested in studying geology.

Additionally, the flexibility offered by many employers, such as remote work and flexible schedules, has made it easier for women to manage their professional and personal duties, motivating more women to pursue careers in exploration geology.

“Companies, like Rössing Uranium, are among the best in the industry when it comes to recognizing and valuing women. Here I feel at ease and my ideas and suggestions are taken into account, which drives me to advance in my career.”

From the industry’s point of view, he warned that higher commodity prices, such as uranium, indicate an increase in mining activities to operate for profit.

Demand for the services of exploration geologists has also increased.

Many uranium projects are being explored and mines are restarting operations.

Oil, on the other hand, remains a vital energy source for industrial transportation, especially in developing countries, where the search or development of new oil deposits is still ongoing to meet the world’s growing need for energy.

Investor interest in financing oil exploration has increased due to increased demand for oil.

“Dear young woman, you represent the future of the planet and you have an unlimited capacity to change the world. The world needs your creativity, wisdom and kindness. You have the opportunity to break barriers, control misconceptions and motivate the future generation of women in all sectors. “His distinctive point of view and inventiveness will enable him to overcome challenges and contribute significantly to the geosciences. Remember that you are just starting your scientific journey as a girl, so take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference.”