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Ludis Ibargüen, Makes a Difference in the Mining Sector

Some years ago it was difficult to imagine a woman who made it in the mining sector and who was widely known and recognized in the industry. Today there are various examples of women who are successful in mines.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía

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One of these women who have succeeded in the industry is Ludis Yaneth Ibargüen Delgado. She has been working for 13 years for the corporate group Mineros S.A., and against all prejudice, she is the current operator of the Dredge 19, which is one of the most important auriferous operations of Colombia, located in the region known as Cauca Antioqueño.

Dredge 19, known as San Martín is a suction machine that weighs more than 150 tonnes, 54 meters long, and 8 meters wide. It also has a modern operations room where its functions can be easily managed with technological buttons that enable a woman to perform this type of work. Some years ago, the past old dredges were operated by machines that functioned manually so physical strength was a must to work as dredge captain.

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Ludis was born in El Bagre Antioquia, a land that is rich in gold. Her mother died 13 years ago and she shares her residence with her father who is a small-scale miner. Her career started in the year 2007 when the corporate group began recruiting in her region and hence started to instruct welders. Among a group of 25 welders who were being instructed, there were 4 women and one of them was Ludis.

Ludis stated that at the beginning of her career at Mineros S.A., none of her coworkers believed she was appropriate for her position as a welder since she was a woman and she was also short and thin. However, after a while, their perception changed as they witnessed the extraordinary abilities she had. Some years later she became certified in occupational health.

Then, she took part in an internal selection process for the position of dredge captain. She was appointed as the new dredge operator. The most important skill for this position according to Ludis is being an active team player. She works for 12 hours for 15 days in a row and then she has seven resting days. During the pandemic, Ludis has been working even for more than 12 hours without breaks. 

She encourages women to always bear in mind that they are capable and that they can be equal to men. She also advises other females to follow their dreams and to overcome mental barriers because physical ones do not exist. Ludis also mentions that her role model and inspiration was Tibisay Lotero Sánchez, the only woman who was already a dredge operator when she started in her new position. They are close friends now.