New professional start as prospective mining technologist for mom Sandra

Sandra talks about her new start as a prospective mining technologist in an extraordinary underground working environment.

Dear Sandra, can tell us a bit about yourself please?

My name is Sandra and I am 28 years old. Originally I come from the Erfurt area. About one and a half years ago, after my parental leave, I wanted to start a new career in technology and was given the opportunity to learn mining technologist specializing in civil engineering. I completed my training at K+S in August 2017.

What are you learning during your training and what are your tasks?


During the training we are mainly trained in the use of large machines and get to know the geological conditions. It is important that the drilling work is carried out in such a way that as much salt as possible containing potassium and magnesium is mined for further production. The eight large machines that we operate include the blast hole drill rig, the blasting vehicle, the ridge anchor drill rig, the large hole drill rig, the robber, the clean loader and the loading machines (e.g. diesel loader and SLP). So far, I am allowed to operate all but the robber. When we are in the area, it is part of the daily routine to carry out an all-round check on the machines to see whether, for example, there is damage to the vehicles or whether they need to be refueled. We check virtually everything that is connected with the occupational safety of the machines. Every day, the most important thing is that the vehicles are taken over in perfect condition, since the machines are then used in the large areas. During the training, you learn new things again and again. Especially in the secondary operations, there are numerous new tasks. In addition, many training courses take place for us mining technologists.

What was the start of your career with us like?

Before we could really start underground, we first spent three weeks above ground, where our introductory weeks took place. There we were taught many different basics. For example, we were introduced to the youth and trainee representatives, the company health management, the health protection document and, of course, the operating instructions. Self-rescue training courses and a first-aid course were also held. This is also very important because you have to pay special attention to your safety and that of your colleagues underground. During this time we also had our first underground tour, visited the tailings pile and had a one-week team-building seminar in Heiligenstadt. The training group really grew together during the seminar. When you start as a newcomer in the company, you are not thrown into the cold water, but are really well trained and the most important things are shown and explained. If you have any questions, the trainers are always available to answer them.

What challenges have you had to face in your training so far?


The question is hard to answer. It depends on the individual people and how they feel about their work. For some it is unusual to get up early, for others it is difficult to hold a heavy bar and for others it is difficult to use a scoop and drive the route underground. For me this is no challenge - only getting up early was the only small change for me in the beginning.

If you had to describe the underground world in just one word, what would that be?

"UNBELIEVABLE" - We're all one big family underground. Here we all stick together and each is there for the other.

What is your wish for your future career?

My greatest wish is to shorten my training from three to two and a half years. It would also be very nice if I could continue to get the chance to further my education and maybe even train as a technician or attend climbing school.


Many thanks Sandra for the exciting interview and we wish you continued success and all the best for your further private and professional career!

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