Two Women in Smelting Operations

Josiane Guy et Laury Lambert

Josiane Guy and Laury Lambert are among the few female smelting operators in sector P155 of Laterrière Works. They both started working in the potrooms in May 2022, and they hope to continue their careers there for many years.

After working as a special education teacher for people with behavioural issues, Josiane wanted to make a complete career change. This decision paid off, as she is enjoying her new job. “I needed a change of pace and wanted to try something new. I was interested in the industrial field, and that’s what led me to apply to Rio Tinto,” she explains.

At her previous jobs, Laury worked in predominantly male-dominated environments and enjoyed the camaraderie. “Once you get into the industrial field, working for Rio Tinto becomes the goal,” she says.

The two young women started their training at the same time. Assigned to anode changing, they had no difficulty finding their place, even if they sometimes felt the hesitation of some of their male colleagues. Today, both women have developed a strong sense of belonging to the team.

These two operators are not afraid of a challenge. Despite the constraints of their environment, including intense heat, heavy loads and the presence of contaminants, they always manage to complete their work. They also find it very satisfying.

“It’s a job that requires a lot of vigilance and endurance. I’m very proud to be able to deliver the goods. I love to be told that I’ve got guts,” says Josiane.

For them, the team chemistry and the camaraderie are some of the most enjoyable parts of working as smelting operators. “We rarely work with the same person, but no matter who we team up with, we always manage to get a method going and learn new things. It’s a great challenge,” says Josiane.

For Laury, every day brings new challenges that make her feel like she is constantly surpassing herself. “There’s a lot to learn, and it’s really interesting to explore the processes behind the finished product,” she says enthusiastically.

Being employed by a large company like Rio Tinto is a source of pride for them. While Josiane sees opportunities for advancement and has the ambition to learn other trades over time, Laury wants to continue learning about other processes that she finds fascinating.

According to them, concrete measures are being taken to make sure that women’s integration goes smoothly. Josiane is involved in several committees and explains that the company is very proactive and committed to adapting the working environment to the female workforce.