The gold and diamond mining industry, over the years, has contributed significantly to the sustenance of many families. However, it takes lots of hard labour, long hours and courage to keep pursuing some of the nature’s most precious minerals buried below.Deian’s GordonDeian Gordon is one of the few female miners in the sector. She is also an Executive Member of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO), and as such, she understands the struggle.Prior to taking up a career in gold mining, Gordon was engaged in street vending. She has initially visited the interior only to understand how minerals were extracted from the earth. That visit would evolve into her becoming involved in the mining business.As a woman in mining, she has found it to be very challenging and now she is a reservoir of good and bad experiences in the sector.In a male-dominated field, Gordon has managed to rack up some 22 years in the sector, but it takes strength and courage to keep persevering.“You have to be strong to work with the men – spirit, mind and body; you have to be able to stand up and demand that this is your job, you have workers, you have to respect, even though you is a female, they have to respect that they working with you,” she explained.Growing up with 11 brothers had taught her a great lot. On this note, she said being among the boys created the advantage she has working in a man’s field.As a woman in mining, she has learnt that one has to be calm, in the eventuality a situation arises. “Like when they get a dispute in the backdam, like in your camp, you have a dispute with another worker, if you can’t go and make a peace or try and get it down, it will lead to that (chopping up)”.She explained that there were times when large investments were made in the mining operation with very little return and then, there were times when the rewards were bountiful; however, a saying often quoted by miners, “Dutty battam dark” – meaning you invest but remain unsure of what returns would be generated although you remain hopeful – reflected the reality of the mining life.The GWMO, along with a brother, has assisted in coaching Gordon in the mining field. Through the Organisation, she has been able to attend many training programmes, especially in the area of sustainable practices.Working in the mining industry is totally different from most sectors, she explained, “…because for me, my work starts at 5, sometimes you does gotta get up from 2-3 (am) pumping water and so out of the pit. So, you close off at 6 (pm) and depends on how the sun goes, you could go up to 7 (pm)…so it ain’t get a factor really like a 7-4 work….”The GWMO executive said she was taught about the rules that govern the mining industry through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Women Miners Organisation, and as such, abide by those rules.She also engages in sustainable working practices. After mining is completed in an area, trees are often replanted by her workers.All dredge owners, Gordon encouraged, should always have another business to assist in the steady flow of income owing to the unpredictability of the mining sector.Additionally, being away from family is challenging. Gordon enjoys going to the movies and hanging out with friends, to “ease the brains” as she puts it.