Women Driving Transformation In Mining

By Jessie Taylor

Traditionally male-dominated, the mining industry has been under great pressure to shift towards gender inclusivity. While the industry may still have a long way to go, several women are taking up leadership positions within the mining sector, paving the way for greater gender equality. Mining is a key industry in South Africa, accounting for around half a million direct jobs, and the transformation of this industry will go a long way to improving South Africa’s gender equality goals.

According to the Minerals Council South Africa, women represent 12% of South Africa’s total mining labour force, with the number of women employed by the sector having increased from around 11 000 in 2002 to 56 000 in 2019. 17% of top leadership positions are held by women. To address the challenges faced by women in this sector, the Minerals Council has developed a task team to oversee gender transformation in the industry. Here, PSL lists some of the women who are at the forefront of the industry’s transformation:



Thabisile Dlomo


Thabisile Phumo, Executive Vice President of Stakeholder Relations at SibanyeStillwater, has been tasked with turning around the tragic legacy of Marikana, the site of a massacre in which 34 miners were killed in 2012. Thabisile heads up the Marikana Renewal Programme, implemented following Sibanye-Stillwater’s acquisition of Lonmin’s operations in Marikana in December 2019, to promote a positive legacy of restitution and renewal.

Under the Marikana Renewal Programme, she has established broad-based community engagement platforms with communities living within and around Marikana and has led the investment of more than R116 million into infrastructure in these communities. The Renewal Programme has also ensured that the widows of miners who tragically lost their lives in 2012 are provided with houses. Thabisile has over 25 years of experience in corporate affairs in the public and private sectors and has served in roles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Commission for Gender Equality.

Nolitha Fakude 


In May 2021, Nolitha was appointed as the Minerals Council of South Africa’s first female president in the organisation’s 131-year history. She is well known as a corporate activist and businesswoman with a passion for leadership development, especially for women in the workplace. She has held numerous roles in South Africa’s mining sector over the past few years. She is considered a well-respected authority on transformation and empowerment, having held positions on the management teams and boards of various oil and gas, petrochemical, financial services, and retail companies.

She currently serves as the chairperson of both Anglo-American South Africa’s management board and the Minerals Council’s Women in Mining Leadership Forum. The forum aims to ensure that the mining industry at least doubles the percentage of women in mining by 2025 while working towards 40% women’s representation across the industry and 50% in management in the next 10 years. Her vision is to create visible upliftment for women and marginalised groups in the workplace and allow them to be meaningful participants in the economy.


Mbali Maninzi


Mbali Milanzi is the Commercial Director at Tshepa Basadi Group. Tshepa Basadi, meaning “Trust Women ‘’ in Setswana, was established in 2017 with threeemployees. Today, the women-led company employs more than 70 people and provides skilled project management consulting and resourcing services,including technical services such as engineering design and construction management.

Mbali is passionate about advancing female representation by aligning project decisions in the interest of women and improving the participation of women in the project management office within the mining industry. She has experience as a sales director, chemical engineer and project manager in charge of executing large capital projects for international companies. Along with female empowerment, Mbali is passionate about upskilling and creating opportunities for South Africa’s unemployed youth.


While there may be numerous challenges facing the mining industry’s transformation journey, the rise of technology is likely to bring greater possibilities for gender equality. The industry is moving away from manpower towards automation and robotics, creating space for women to take more of an active role in the sector’s workforce. This diversity will be critical for the sector in the future, and gender empowerment in the mining sector has the potential to be a driver for gender parity in the country.

Source: Adcorp | Commission for Gender Equality | Engineering News | ESI Africa | Medium | Minerals Council of South Africa | Mining Indaba | Mining Review | Sibanye Stillwater