At Twin Metals Minnesota, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day today by introducing you to some of the women leaders that work on the Twin Metals project.

Meet: Julie Padilla, Chief Regulatory Officer

Q: How long have you worked on the Twin Metals project?

A: About two years

Q: Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

A: I grew up in Rockford, Illinois. In 1993, I moved to Minnesota for college and haven’t left since! I currently live in Blaine.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working on the Twin Metals project?

A: It’s really two things. I have the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people dedicated to advancing this project in an environmentally safe and responsible way. On top of that, I get to educate Minnesotans about the importance of the resources we have here in this state and how Twin Metals can contribute to our economic and national security.

Q: How did you originally decide you wanted to join the Twin Metals team?

A: Previously, I worked in the renewable energy and energy efficiency space. I realized the increasing need to mine metals necessary for a transition to a green economy, and I wanted to be a part of changing the discussion around mining. When I met the team, I felt that passion throughout the company, and I was excited to be a part of the Twin Metals story.

Q: What about the mining industry sparked your interest?

A: I recognize that everything we take for granted in our daily lives has origins in mining and that many communities around the world don’t have access to basic necessities like power. As other industries have evolved and advanced in safety and environmental protection, so has mining. I think it’s important for people to understand that modern mining provides us an opportunity to advance our standard of living while increasing public health and equity globally.

Q: Any other fun facts to add?

A: There are so many amazing women leaders that work in the mining, and I have been thrilled to work with the Women’s Mining Coalition to highlight and advance women in the industry. For young women in STEM programs thinking about future opportunities, I would encourage them to look at the diversity of roles and opportunities in mining.

Meet: Nicole Hoffmann, Project Geologist

Q: How long have you worked on the Twin Metals project?

A: Almost 10 years

Q: Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

A: I’m originally from Litchfield, Minn., which is south of St. Cloud. I’ve lived in Ely for nearly 10 years now. I did live in Ely earlier on life while I was in college. I worked for a resort and outfitter here in Ely for three summers during that time to earn some money for the school year and to live in an area with access to so many different outdoor activities.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working on the Twin Metals project?

A: I most enjoy the variety of work and the ability to participate in all aspects of the Twin Metals project.  I’m a geologist by training, and the main focus of my job is to study and understand the geology of the rocks and ore (sulfide) minerals. That allows me to work closely with the engineers to understand how geology influences the metallurgy process (crushing the ore and extracting ore minerals from gangue minerals).  Also, as part of the Ely field staff, I participate in the development, permitting, and execution of various field programs.

Q: How did you originally decide you wanted to become a geologist? What about the field sparked your interest?

A: When I lived in Ely during the summers in college, I initially became interested in the environment and advocacy for it. I completed my undergraduate BS degree at Winona State University and my Masters MS degree at University of Wyoming. I took classes in biology, chemistry, geology and environmental sciences and geology was the topic that clicked and held my interest. I ultimately ended up focusing more on the rock formation and mineralogy aspects of geology throughout my schooling.

Q: Any other fun facts to add?

A: I was recently accepted into the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce “Leader’s Lab” program for the summer of 2021. I’m also a “Professional Geologist,” which means I am formally licensed by the state of Minnesota. 

Meet: Kathy Graul, Manager, Public Relations

Q: How long have you worked on the Twin Metals project?

A: About a year and a half

Q: Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

A: I’m originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I have lived in the Twin Cities metro area for the past 13 years.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working on the Twin Metals project?

A: I enjoy having the opportunity to work with some of the most talented professionals in the industry to advance a project that will serve as a model mine. From the local economic impacts of the project to the ways Twin Metals can help supply the minerals needed for our transition to low carbon technologies, we have incredible stories to tell. And that makes my role as a communicator for Twin Metals really fun.

Q: What about the mining industry sparked your interest?

A: I think there is a lot of room for education in this field around the connection between mining and the end products we use on a daily basis. I joined the Twin Metals team because I wanted to be part of those educational efforts. Working in mining at a time when organizations globally are evaluating the issues around supply chains is also really exciting to me. Companies like Twin Metals are a critical part of the conversation in ensuring that the minerals used in a myriad of end products are sourced in a responsible, environmentally sensitive manner.

Q: Any other fun facts to add?

A: I have visited the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota nearly every year with family ever since I was a young kid. These days, we continue that family tradition by bringing our son on our trips up north. Protecting this area’s natural resources is incredibly important to me on a personal level, and I firmly believe we can do that with the model mine we are proposing.

I also enjoy working on communications committees as part of the National Mining Association and the American Exploration & Mining Association.