De Beers Canada supports career growth

Sep 25, 2023

Representing De Beers Group at an international conservation conference in Rwanda was a personal and professional opportunity of a lifetime for two members of the environment team in Canada.

Trisa Ngo, an environmental scientist at Gahcho Kué mine, and Veronique Magny, an environmental officer at Victor mine closure site, were selected to attend the 31st International Congress for Conservation Biology, held July 23-27 in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference attracted 1,500 delegates from around the world.

Rwanda is located in central Africa, bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

Ngo and Magny were able to attend thanks to support from Anglo American. Both are early in their careers. Ngo has worked at Gahcho Kué for two years and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Resources, Environment and Sustainability from the University of B.C., while Magny graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environment and Urban Sustainability in 2020 and has worked at Victor since mid-2021.

For both, it was a chance to network with academics and conservation professions from around the world and step out of their daily work. Ngo compiles the numerous reports required by regulators and other stakeholders, while Magny spends much of her time in the field collecting samples and documenting closure work.

“I like meeting new people and learning from their experiences and taking those learnings and incorporating them into my work,” said Ngo.

As part of their participation, both submitted posters as part of the conference program. Ngo showcased how Gahcho Kué integrates local Indigenous communities and Traditional Knowledge into the environment program. Magny focused on the latest fish habitat that was created at Victor during active closure and highlighted the ecological benefits surrounding engineered fishponds.

“Many of the people at the conference weren’t familiar with mining in Canada, so it was important to make sure they understood our commitment to offsetting impacts, that we don’t proceed with a project until all stakeholders are in agreement, and that we are governed by strict regulations and requirements,” explained Magny.

In addition to attending the conference, the two took advantage of the opportunity to experience other parts of Africa. “I had never travelled internationally before so I was grateful to be able to step out of my comfort zone,” said Magny.

“This was an experience that took you out of your first world point of view and reality,” added Ngo. Together, they trekked to see mountain gorillas in neighbouring Uganda where they saw a family group of 13, including adults, babies/juveniles and ‘teenaged’ gorillas.

Said Magny: “The jungle smelled so good, like an herb garden.” Ngo also travelled to Tanzania where she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and visited the Serengeti. “I don’t think going to Africa was ever on my radar,” said Ngo. “And to be able to go to this and represent my company felt very, very real and amazing.”

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