The gold prospector
Since her studies as a geologist, Miriam Rehder has been on the hunt for gold. Yet it wasn't always white gold she was after. She has already explored valuable deposits on three continents. Today, she is Head of Geology at the Zielitz site and therefore plays a key role in the extraction of domestic raw materials.
Miriam Rehder was born and raised in Hamburg. In her teens, she discovered her passion for rocks and the formation and transformation of the earth. In conversation, she still remembers exactly the report about a geoscientist that she got hold of in a magazine as a teenager. At that moment, her fascination was born, and she promptly decided to study geology at the University of Kiel.
"In terms of mining, the University of Kiel unfortunately doesn't have the same reputation as the TU Bergakademie in Freiberg. That's why it was a little difficult for me to get started in professional deposit exploration," Miriam Rehder recalls. But those who know her are aware of her determination and creativity. Since she couldn't find an employer in Germany, she simply looked beyond the country's borders. Instead of a neighboring European country, however, it ended up going to the fifth continent. "At that time, many mining projects were being launched in Australia and skilled workers were being sought accordingly. Therefore, the likelihood of finding an entry-level job there seemed high to me."
Miriam Rehder traveled the country, distributed her application documents to headhunters and applied for a permanent position. It didn't take long for faith to turn into reality. She received a call offering her a three-month assignment as a geologist in a gold mining operation run by one of the world's largest gold companies, Barrick Gold Corp. in the middle of Australia's outback. Looking back, it was one of the most rewarding professional experiences she had. "Together we were about 200 colleagues living in a camp. There were Australians, English, Russians, New Zealanders, South Africans and many other nationalities represented. The team spirit was incredible." In addition to many years at a bilingual school in Hamburg, her outgoing nature in particular is key to her integration and communication with the team. Subsequently, she was permanently employed. That meant taking a plane from Perth to the mine in the outback. Eight days of work in a row, followed by six days off and then back again by plane.
Follow the inner compass
Has it satisfied her desire for adventure? On the contrary. After four years, Miriam Rehder decided to apply for an international job within the Group. This time, too, with success. She sold her entire household, including her car, and moved to Africa. From then on, she supervised geological drilling projects in open-pit gold mining in Tanzania and Kenya. "The beauty of these countries is indescribable. The vegetation, the people, and the animals. It was easy for me to quickly feel at home in the new environment," she enthuses even today. So, she spent her free time going on safaris and getting close to nature. She only had time for that every month and a half, however. The working time model was even more demanding this time: twelve-hour shifts for six weeks in a row, followed by three weeks off. "I spent most of my free time traveling. Of course, also to visit my family in Germany on a regular basis."
The subsequent step changes Miriam Rehder's motivation. She went to West Africa with a small team of geologists. Her employer pursued exploration projects to find gold deposits in Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Ivory Coast. For Miriam Rehder, it was a challenging time. The team struggled with language, often speaking a local village language instead of French or English. "It was an unfiltered look into the diversity of Africa. West Africa falls a bit short of my first assignment in East Africa, and not just in terms of scenery. The work was also arduous and exhausting in the long run."
The geological challenges and special features inspire me every day. I love being underground."
From Kilimanjaro to Kalimandscharo
A desire to return home grew within her. "Without wanting to call it homesickness, I had the feeling that I wanted to find a central place - a base - for myself again," she recalls of that time. This base should ideally be as close as possible to her hometown of Hamburg. Therefore, is perfectly suited to her curriculum vitae that a position as a geologist was advertised at the Zielitz plant at that time. "An absolute stroke of luck for me. I have the proximity to my hometown, my family, my friends, and can continue to pursue my passion."
Miriam Rehder has been working at the Zielitz mine site since 2015. Initially hired as a production geologist, she assumed the position of Head of Geology and Exploration at the site last year. And it seems she'll be staying here for a long time. "The team I work with is great. The geological challenges and features inspire me every day. I love being underground."