By Meagan Gillmore
Growing up in Clyde River, Cynthia Panipak was fascinated by loaders. “Whenever it was around our place, clearing snow, I’d be looking out the window watching, saying ‘Wow,’” the 35-year-old shovel and loader operator at Baffinland’s Mary River iron ore mine remembered.
It makes sense she would describe her work as “her dream job.” Panipak started with Baffinland in 2013. She came to the company after five years as a seasonal truck driver.
Baffinland offered year-round employment. She spends her two weeks between shifts in Clyde River, mainly hunting and fishing.
There’s “no time” for travel, she said. In early 2019, Panipak made history when she was trained to operate the Caterpillar 994K, the largest wheel loader the company makes. “I was like a kid in a candy store,” she laughed, remembering her response when her supervisors said she was going to be trained to operate the machine. “It was awesome.”
Panipak is trained to operate every piece of large equipment on the site. She began working on the rock truck; she now mainly works on loaders. (She sometimes operates shovels, too.) The 994K loader has a 1,739 horsepower engine. The standard model carries