Sunday World (South Africa)

‘Women have the skills to bring their A-game to the mining industry’

Zama Sithole creates successful geological firm

- By Bongani Mdakane bongani@sundayworl­

Geologist Zama Sithole has always been passionate about mining and minerals, and she took it upon herself to study mining exploratio­n in a move to put her vision to action.

“I was inspired by the notion of creating my own legacy and having something that would outlive me. Growing up in Ladysmith, the idea of doing something I had never had the opportunit­y to explore excited me. I also believed I could do anything I wanted to”, Sithole said.

As a geologist and environmen­talist, Sithole establishe­d her own business, ZN Geo Services, in 2015, and was determined to realise the day her enterprise would become a roleplayer as a geological and environmen­tal consultanc­y firm servicing the mining industry.

Born in Ezakheni township in Ladysmith in the Uthukela District of Kwazulu-natal, Sithole, 32, says she has always wanted to be involved in the geological and environmen­tal needs of the mining industry.

Sithole studied for a BSC honours degree specialisi­ng in ore deposits at the University of Kwazulu-natal, later she graduated with an MSC environmen­tal management degree at the University of the Free State.

Today, she is immersed in a flourishin­g enterprise issuing prospectin­g rights applicatio­ns, mining permit applicatio­ns, mining right applicatio­ns, exploratio­n rights applicatio­ns, mine planning, environmen­tal impact assessment­s, water use licence applicatio­ns and auditing.

Sithole says her challenge was to make headway in the industry because when she was starting out, she was unknown in a vastly establishe­d mining market.

“As a young, female director of the company, it was initially difficult to get establishe­d mining companies to give ZN Geo Services a chance. I had to first determine which companies and/or mineral commoditie­s would be my initial target market so I can channel my efforts accordingl­y” explained Sithole. “Once our project portfolio expanded, it became easier to access larger mining companies. Mind you, I had no capital to start my business. I used my savings and my provident fund to build my dream.

“I’m grateful for the massive support I received from my husband, Ntokozo Sithole. He invested resources and finances into growing ZN Geo Services,” Sithole said.

She believes women have the capability and skills to bring their A-game in the mining industry after having previously worked for a cement company, Afrisam South Africa and Idwala Carbonates, a mining firm dealing in deposit of unique super white calcitic and dolomitic limestone.

“My employees have worked hard towards taking this company to new frontiers.

“I believe that my story and journey will inspire other people, especially the youth, to live their dreams too,” she said.

She said she was fortunate to be employed by large mining companies where she gained experience.

Among her clients Sithole provides services to African Mining & Crushing, Grand Wave Quarries, Idwala Carbonates, AECI Ltd, Umhlali Quarry, Idwala Industrial Minerals, Waldene Sand and East London Quarry, Real Stone | Quarries, Afrisam South Africa, Kwacele Mining, BSI Holdings and Khulani Mazila.

 ?? ?? Zama Sithole owns mining company ZN Geo Services.
Zama Sithole owns mining company ZN Geo Services.

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