Karla Ortega realized the importance of mining early in her career. Karla entered the mining industry following the completion of her university studies, seeing firsthand the impact mining has on the development, growth and economy of her native country, Mexico. Her experience includes working for companies that mine gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, both underground and surface mines. Karla joined Coeur Mexicana in 2019 and currently serves as the General Supervisor in the Projects department at the Palmarejo mine.
The Projects department is responsible for ensuring the continuity of operations, improving processes and executing projects for the underground mine – projects that range from installing ventilation inside the mine to building an area to deposit the tailings. As the supervisor of the Projects team, Karla is also responsible for ensuring projects are on schedule, within budget and safe.
Q: You have had a long career in mining. Why is this industry so important to you?
A: I like being a part of an industry that is so critical to our everyday lives. Mining impacts everything from the economic growth of a country to the products that we use every day, and I am proud to be able to contribute to such important areas.
The responsibility we have as a mining company covers many areas and the most important area is safety. The mining industry has very rigorous safety standards and safety is the priority at Coeur.
Also, the commitment we have to the growth and development of the communities in which we operate is also an important factor for me. At Coeur Mexicana, we have a long history of supporting the communities that surround the Palmarejo mine. We’ve worked to improve the conditions of schools and housing for the local communities and seeing the gratitude expressed by the local families and knowing we’ve made a difference in so many lives is really important to me.
Q: You have worked at a few different mining companies. What is it like working for Coeur?
A: Coeur is one of the best places where I have had the opportunity to work. The company is committed to its employees and treats everyone with dignity, respect and above all, fairness.
Any challenges I have faced have been made easier through teamwork. I have been able to develop and grow my career in part due to the team that I work with, which, in turn, helps motivate me to pursue a higher standard in all that I do.
Q: Due to the remote location of the Palmarejo mine, you work a two-week on / two-week off rotational schedule. How do you like that?
A: Working in a remote location, you have time away from family and close friends, therefore it’s very important to maintain a positive attitude and healthy relationship with your peers. But being in a remote location has given me the opportunity to learn from the communities surrounding the mine site and to support them, this is always a win-win for me.
Most of my co-workers have families and children, yet despite the distance, we can offer our families more quality time because we have several days a month where we can devote 100% of our time to our families. I find this arrangement much better for me and my family than a more traditional working schedule. I find I have a lot of free time on my breaks from work and I always take advantage of it!
Q: You are a graduate of Coeur’s leadership development program, IMPACT. Tell us about your experience.
A: My experience with the IMPACT program was very enriching. I had the opportunity to learn about different leadership and communication styles, both inside and outside of the workplace.
It was quite a journey to get to learn new things about myself, meet new co-workers, learn about our strategy and of course, focus on safety. My biggest takeaway was knowing how each of us has an impact on the business and there is always the opportunity to improve and grow with the company.
A little bit more about Karla:
Karla is a mechanical engineer and earned her degree from the Instituto Tecnológico de La Laguna and holds a master’s degree in Project Management from the Universidad Iberoamericana Saltillo.