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The Kimberlite Quest

Forevermark understands the important role that women play in thriving economies. We believe that the full and equal participation of women in society is both a right and an economic necessity.

As part of the De Beers Group, we are proud to work to improve both the quality of women’s lives and their future prospects in diamond-producing communities. By providing access to good quality healthcare, education, professional training and enterprise development programmes, the De Beers Group helps to expand women’s ambitions and career opportunities.

Welcha Minnie

Welcha Minnie is Senior Safety and Compliance Manager for De Beers Exploration, and was the first woman to work in the field in South Africa when she joined the company in 1990. A geologist by trade, she recently took up a new challenge to lead safety and sustainable development compliance.

In this role, Welcha ensures that De Beers’ exploration activities respect a wide range of political, socio-economic, cultural, legal and environmental requirements.

She says: “Even for a geologist who spends all day with rocks, working with people and building meaningful relationships is essential. Working for De Beers, you meet some amazing people. It’s these people and these relationships that really help you progress and push boundaries.”

Welcha supports exploration activities in Angola, Botswana, Canada and South Africa from the De Beers Exploration Laboratories in Johannesburg. Her team there consists of 43 staff members, of which 29 are women. Welcha says: “As a company, De Beers invests heavily in its people, in their technical training and development. That means there’s opportunities for you to really pursue your career ambitions.”

Welcha offers opportunities within the team to women with a variety of backgrounds and abilities. Violet Fakir and Gladness Madikane work as Indicator Mineral Analysts in one of the laboratories, analysing soil samples sent by colleagues in the field. They and their fellow analysts use powerful microscopes to look for indicator minerals – traces of which are the tell-tale signs of possible kimberlite, a rock which often contains diamonds.

Violet and Gladness joined Welcha’s team through her association with E-Deaf, a non-profit organizationthat helps people with impaired hearing to find employment.

Welcha started partnering with E-Deaf in the mid 2000’s. Since then, hearing impaired employees are amongst the most valued members of the laboratory team; and according to Welcha, the relationship has encouraged all of her team members to appreciate each other’s unique qualities. Of the five staff members with impaired hearing, four are women.

Maphotle Mabusela also works in the Indicator Mineral Laboratory. A talkative person who loves to get to know people, Maphotle has been taking sign language classes to help her interact with Violet, Gladness and other hearing impaired employees. She has completed her basic diploma in sign language translation and is constantly looking for ways to keep her skills current. She also challenges the rest of the team to exercise their fingers and learn basic communication techniques.

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