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Developing the next major nickel project in Brazil

Get to know Brunna Pajanoti – Horizonte’s Geologist located in Conceição do Araguaia

This month, we sat down with Brunna Pajanoti, one of Horizonte’s geologists, and one of our most experienced women working in a technical discipline.  

Brunna was born in the state of Paraná, graduated in Geology and holds a Master’s degree from the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), in Cuiabá. In this interview, Brunna talks about her desire to work in a science discipline since childhood, her views on gender diversity in the mining industry and life as a professional in Horizonte Minerals.   

You’ve worked in mining for 8 years. What led you to choose this career?

I chose mining as a profession as this related to my desire to understand how things worked and where our materials came from, which was something that interested me since childhood. Right from an early age, I really enjoyed making contact with and trying to understand everything that came from the Earth. So geology, was the science of choice for me, it was the science that showed me that I could continue throughout my professional life (as a geologist in the mining industry) in a career that I am passionate about and with which I have always had a connection.

Can you describe your work for the Araguaia Project at Horizonte in Brazil? 

I started at Horizonte at the beginning of the exploratory drilling campaigns, over 6 years ago, and since then I have been engaged in research and exploration activities, which include  drilling, research and mapping of new areas, data analysis and sampling quality to define operational activities. In addition to this, I work with our mining engineers and environmentalists to define deposit layouts as well as geotechnical and hydrogeological characteristics.  All of this data is important to complete reports that are submitted to the National Mining Agency. I’ve also worked across the environmental monitoring activities and community programs.

How do you think the industry has changed since you first started?

In short – technology. I believe that access to information and the implementation of new technologies in the field of research and mining has brought the mining industry great advances in being able to understand, and respond quickly and safely to a number of situations. However, I also believe that there is still much to evolve in socio-environmental issues, so that the general population has a greater understanding of what mining is and does for society.

And in terms of diversity, although we talk a lot about ‘women in mining’ do you see a shift to a broader conversation about diversity in general?

The scenario has evolved a lot over the last 10 years. I see that some companies today already have the “mindset” of equity which is demonstrated in hiring women into mining. Horizonte is an example of one of these companies that is mindful of gender and cultural diversity. In my early career in another company, I became the only woman within a team of 100 men. Today we see an increase of women in positions of all levels in the mining industries and who perform extremely important activities across the technical and non-technical functions.


Your decisions are essential for the protection of the environment, people who live in the area and future mine workers. What safety measures does Horizonte take?

Horizonte has very strict procedures and Company Values which ensures that health, safety and environmental issues are at the top of our priority list at all times. During all these years that the company has been operating, safety matters are identified, discussed and mitigation plans implemented before any operational activities are performed. We also reflect on matters of safety during and after operational activities, and conduct an annual review to ensure continuous improvement. We haven’t had a single Lost-Time-Injury this year.

Is professional success compatible with family life?

Yes. As every profession, there are some bonuses and burdens, in my case specifically, everything I have achieved over my almost 10 years of career is the result of my work and studies as a geologist. The hardest part is always the distance from family and home, but nothing deters me from wanting to develop and dedicate myself as a professional. However, we have a fly-in, fly-out schedule which allows me to get some important one-on-one family time each month. I am very proud of what I do and my family supports me.

What are the keys to success?

Dedication, commitment, ethics and integrity, both in professional and personal life.


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