December 28, 2021

An exploration geologist’s work involves analyzing the structure of bedrock that you cannot see. To counterbalance the challenging work, Johanna Paadar practices physical exercise and hiking. On trekking trips, stones remain just a part of the scenery – discovering the secrets in the bedrock is restricted to working hours.

Initially, Johanna Paadar came to Lapland to work as a sled dog guide in Äkäslompolo. She spent several years working as a guide in the winter and at a fish factory in northern Norway in the summer. After years full of hard work, she wanted to continue studying, and an interest in natural sciences and the possibility to work in the north attracted her to study geology. “I have roots in the north, and I have always felt at home here. It also influenced my choice of field of study,” says Johanna.

When Johanna was about to graduate in 2010, she was offered her first job as a geologist as a sample processing supervisor at Agnico Eagle Finland. That started her career in our company. Since then, she has moved into a role as an exploration geologist involving versatile tasks around bedrock and mineralized zones. Her duties include modeling the bedrock structure using software applications, exploring sites, and processing rock samples. In her work, Johanna appreciates versatility and the possibility to plan her tasks independently. “You never know what you will find in the rocks. In geology, the joy of finding is fascinating,” she says.

Versatility also poses challenges because you should be able to assimilate new information constantly. “Sometimes you feel that your brain cannot absorb all the new technical information, and you come up with creative ideas for modeling at the same time. Then you may momentarily feel that you really do not know much about anything,” Johanna says, laughing. As an experienced and cool-headed employee, she can face challenges with a sense of humor.

Modeling rock structure requires solid geological expertise. An individual drilling sample is like a section of a layer cake taken with a drinking straw: it gives you a cross-section of the cake but only from an extremely small area. The challenge of exploration geologists is to interpret the samples and try to create an overall view of the underground rock. “Geology often involves observation, interpretation, and identifying phenomena. Fortunately, I’m lucky to have nice colleagues with whom I can exchange thoughts about challenging rocks,” says Johanna, describing her work.

Rock specimens often consist of rather ordinary bedrock, and exceptions from that make the happiest moments for a geologist. “The most unforgettable situations are when you find promising samples after a long time. You don’t find them every day in this business, and promising stones get the entire team excited,” she sums up.

Johanna’s spare time also includes activities and versatile interests. She enjoys outdoor life and likes to spend her holidays pursuing various activities. “I go trekking in the fall and skiing in the spring. After working hours, I like to go mountain biking with my husband. Versatile sports are what I enjoy most,” says Johanna happily.