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Charting Her Own Path: Making the Most of Employee Development

Every day is different for Nimmi Dhadwal, the Health, Safety and Training Superintendent at New Gold’s New Afton Mine. She took on the role in September 2023, managing a team of safety advisors and trainers, supporting departments with incident investigations and working to advance New Afton’s strong health and safety culture.

“No situation, incident or issue is the same,” said Nimmi. “We approach each day with curiosity and keep learning new ways to make our work even safer.”

Nimmi is no stranger to New Afton—in fact, she brought more than ten years of experience at the mine with her into her role on the safety team. After getting her Bachelor of Science in Geology, she began her career at New Afton in 2012 as a facemapper, working underground with development crews to understand geological characteristics of the rockface and advise on support requirements. Nimmi continued to gain experience after obtaining her Professional Geologist designation, eventually moving into the role of Senior Geologist at the mine. 

“One of my early highlights was being part of the team who saw the mine through development, production and closure of our Lift 1 block cave,” said Nimmi. “Then when I began managing teams, I discovered my love of working with each employee to help them develop and set productive goals as part of the supportive and collaborative workplace.”

It’s that supportive environment at New Afton that Nimmi says played a key role in her success. Her position as Senior Geologist was part of a development program that allows employees at the mine to step into temporary roles to increase exposure to different parts of the business. In her case, the role became permanent. 

“New Gold is committed to fostering employee growth through opportunities like development roles and I’ve seen that firsthand,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to pay it forward and provide development roles for underground personnel in both geology and health and safety. Seeing these individuals put their skills to use in different roles has been very rewarding.”

After several years, Nimmi was ready for another challenge. Now with the safety team, she is continuing that development to expand her skills in a new field.

“I think I bring my knowledge of geology and underground mining to the team, just as our advisors who come from the mill, tailings, or electrical departments bring their perspective,” said Nimmi. “Our diverse experience makes us better equipped to understand safety at the mine.”

She balances her work at New Afton with her busy family life as a parent of two and partner to her husband. She is also Vice President on the board of directors for the Kamloops Exploration Group—a non-profit that advocates for responsible mining and exploration in the region, including programs for elementary and high school students. Through both her volunteer work and career, Nimmi hopes to encourage young people to explore careers they may never have considered.

“When I started at New Afton, I was one of two women in the department, so to see the growth we’ve experienced with more women in the industry is rewarding,” said Nimmi. “For me, it’s about teaching girls or anyone that it’s possible to have whatever career you want – be it mining or something else – and to make sure I do my part to show them what’s out there.”