At Ivanhoe Mines, our success relies greatly on our people. We are proud of our growing team of talented South African and Congolese women and men. They have embraced our goal of environmental, health and safety excellence, and, through their efforts, are helping us to build what will be three of the world’s best mines in Southern Africa's legendary mineral fields.
Each month, Ivanhoe will introduce a member of our team:
Meet Pontien Kalala, Graduate Mining Engineer at our Kamoa-Kakula Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Pontien Kalala – or better known as Pontch - is a graduate mining engineer. He joined our company in April 2010 and now refers to himself as simply a Kamoa Citizen. During the early stages of exploration, he was part of the geotechnical drilling program to define the Kamoa rock mass conditions.
Kamoa is the first mining company he worked for and in 2014 he transferred to mining construction to conduct the Kansoko South box cut excavation. September 21, 2014, will always be remembered as the special day when the First Kamoa Blast took place.
During his career, he had a chance to work with Byrnecut to develop twin declines at Kansoko South and Kakula North and South with JMMC. Putting together the first Kamoa underground crew was a privilege and a highlight of his career.
Never a dull moment – best describe a day in the life of Pontien as the greenfields project is speedily developing into the world-class Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine. The best part of his job is seeing the micro-mining excavation projects handed over for the construction of permanent infrastructure.
Being a witness to the development of this project and learning from the best in the business inspires Pontien to become a legend in this industry.
Meet Jean-Claude Wandalika, Human Resources Manager at our Kipushi Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
After 9 years as a teacher – Jean-Claude joined the company as Interpreter in 2014. Very soon he was promoted to Senior Administrative Officer. His passion for the job and for the KICO team led him onto the path of Human Resources, and in 2018 he was promoted to HR Manager.
He firmly believes that individual success builds company success. Making sure that each individual performs to their best ability and growing a healthy company culture is what
keeps Jean-Claude motivated.
He sets the perfect example for his team to never stop believing in yourself and to follow your dreams to growth and greater heights.
Meet Coco Musas, Community Projects at our Kamoa-Kakula Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Always learn and innovate – is Coco Musas’ life motto. A carpenter by trade, Coco is involved in the community projects at Ivanhoe’s Kamoa Copper project. Shortly after birth, Coco lost his hearing. He attended a skills transfer centre for disabled people and honed his career skills in both Kinshasa and Kolwezi.
His contribution to the development of the people from the local community is something that Coco is very proud of. Being part of the sustainability team that focuses on the development of people has given him self-confidence despite his disability. He has learnt to see his disability as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
He believes that nothing is impossible – and if you share your strength and knowledge with those around you – everybody wins!
Meet Phillip Ramphisa, Environmental Manager at our Platreef Project in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Phillip joined Ivanplats’ Platreef Project on 4 March 2020 as the Environmental Manager. He laughs as he explains that this was a significant date as he was “marching forth”. Developing baseline studies for the environment, applying for and securing environmental licences and ensuring the implementation there-of may describe a day in the life of Phillip. Passion describes his way of life. He holds two masters degrees including an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand. His personal motto is, “Let the world and the natural environment be better off with you in it”. Phillip and his team are actively involved in the host communities and are sharing their knowledge and expertise to ensure that we raise environmental awareness and make this world a better place.
Meet Junior Kasila, Electrical Superintendent at our Kipushi Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Junior Kisula joined KICO, a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (68%) and Gécamines (32%) that is upgrading the historic Kipushi Zinc-Copper Mine, in 2014 as an Electrical Superintendent. Junior is from Haut-Katanga Province and graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the Universite de Lubumbashi. In 2017, Junior was appointed as the engineer in charge of instrumentation. Junior manages the mechanical and electrical maintenance of underground operations and he carefully plans his days and tasks to ensure there are no delays to other departments. Safety is paramount to Junior and he strives to ensure that his department remains incident and accident free. Ivanhoe Mines has given Junior the opportunity to develop professionally as well as personally, and he has enjoyed being part of the KICO team.
Meet Alex Kawaya, Accounting Superintendent at our Kamoa-Kakula Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To see a world-class development like Kamoa Copper through the exploration, development and production phases is a dream that is about to come true for Alex Kawaya, Kamoa Copper’s Accounting Superintendent. A graduate in Public and Industrial Economics from the Universite de Lubumbashi, Alex worked in the DRC Immigration Office before he moved to Anvil Mining Congo. The excitement of the mining industry sparked a flame and he joined the Kamoa-Kakula team in 2010 as an assistant accountant. He enjoys the busy work days, and deadlines and targets are what keeps him going. Alex believes that holding a team accountable is not an exercise in control, but rather an exercise in empowerment.
Meet Precious Madiba, Human Resources Assistant at Ivanhoe’s Platreef Project in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Precious has a passion for helping people reach their full potential in the workplace. This is evident from her experience in a variety of educational settings. Precious joined the Platreef team six years ago and has been growing with the Platreef Project, gaining more knowledge about planning and training a mining workforce while the mine is still under development. Precious was born and raised in a local community. She firmly believes that success does not come from what a person does occasionally, but from what a person does consistently.
Meet Nathalie Bono Kibaba (right), Socio-Economic Development Manager at our Kipushi Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nathalie Bono Kibaba is a member of the team at our Kipushi project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has solid technical background, having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, and has subsequently diversified her experience base into information technology, contract management, administration, and small business development. Nathalie is currently using her diverse skill in her role as the Socio-Economic Development Manager at our Kipushi mine. In this position, she is responsible for designing and implementing projects which contribute to socio-economic development in the project’s host community.
Nathalie says of her position: “I have discovered a special kind of passion and commitment working with communities. It is challenging and humbling, frustrating and extremely rewarding at the same time.”
She believes that the rewards of her job are often intangibles, saying: “Which other job will: Make you cry when a little girl open a running tap and have access to potable water for the first time? Give you the opportunity to see the face of a school girl in a rural area, which for the first time, has access to sanitation facilities at her school? Let you be with a son who shows his aged paraplegic father his bursary letter which states that his university costs are covered? Enable you to see an emerging supplier to the mine kiss his first purchase order document, ceremoniously bless it and nail it to his front door? It is only by working with the communities here in Kipushi that I came to appreciate the value of life.”
Nathalie’s advice to young women who want to pursue a career in the mining industry is to be prepared to adapt to the constraints of the industry, such as remote site work and shifts, and learn how to balance work with family life. “Let the quality of your work and your perseverance speak for you – and the rest of the workforce will acknowledge your value.”
Meet Micheline Kyenge, Mine Geologist at our Kamoa-Kakula Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Micheline joined the Kamoa-Kakula Project in 2011 as a Logging Geologist in the exploration geology team. She then moved on to become a member of the Kakula mining team in 2017 as a Mine Geologist, reporting to the Chief Mine Geologist.
Micheline’s professional development has grown exponentially during her time at Kamoa-Kakula, through exposure to different aspects of geology, on-the-job training and Kamoa-Kakula’s skills transfer program. As a female technical expert in a male dominated industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she has found the culture and work environment at Kamoa-Kakula to be safe and comfortable for female workers and conducive to her own professional growth. She looks forward to growing her career and gaining more experience in her field as the Kamoa-Kakula project progresses.
Meet Benjamin Sekano, General Manager, at our Platreef Project in Mokopane, Limpopo, South Africa.
Benjamin has been an important member of the Ivanplats family for the last three years. He has 22 years’ experience as a mining engineer in various platinum-group metals mines in South Africa. Benjamin is passionate in his belief that every employee has the right to return home safely to their loved ones at the end of each shift. To this end, he conducts regular leadership sessions with his colleagues at Platreef to discuss encourage safety at the project site. He believes that Platreef will be South Africa’s next great platinum-group metals mine, and Ivanplats is privileged to have him as a member of the pioneering team building this world-class project.