Her name means ‘gift’ and Nosiphiwo Mzamo-Nyamane, Mintek’s Mineralogy Manager, is giving the gift of education to 15 of her staffers to be trained in Project Management at Regenesys Business School.
As Chairperson of the Diversity Committee at Mintek, she is a firm believer in encouraging diversity for the betterment of the country. “Diversity has a potential of yielding great results and companies must be able embrace it and come up with ways of being inclusive. Organisations must capitalise and maximise on the benefits of a diverse workforce”.
Mintek’s goal is to have a workforce comprising of 46% women – it currently stands at 39%. “When it comes to accomplishing goals or building solid workplace relationships, the feminine touch and skills like empathy, intuition and optimism of women work towards the benefit of the company. Their emotional intelligence, passion and helpful nature help to create a healthy workplace relationship and well-rounded workforce”.
Nosi’s rock-collecting passion began when she was a student at the University of Fort Hare in 1995. Geologists often lick rocks to identify them – “To a geologist, halite might look a lot like quartz or calcite or gypsum, but none of these will have the distinctly salty taste, so licking it will confirm its identity”. For some rocks, licking won’t work but “grinding them against on your teeth will. Siltstone will feel gritty against your teeth, while shale won’t”.
Her first mining post was in Namaqualand – “We were separated by the Orange River from Namibia”. She stayed in a backyard flat of a white farmer in Prieska and soon moved to a small mine in Limpopo’s Swartwater. From a mine in Kleinsee, she then moved to a firm in Sandton but the geologist in her soon saw her back on the mines in Kimberley and Phalaborwa. Nosi joined Mintek in 2010 and soon grew from strength to strength.
“Having worked around mining towns and written a study on mine closure planning, I have seen the challenges that are faced by the communities when mining stops. The mining society needs to relook mine closure plans before leaving behind ghost towns and poverty”.
As an MBA student at Regenesys, Nosi believes, “Regenesys is one of the best universities in the country and offers quality education”. A good employee is someone who knows, “It is important to be a team player, work together towards achieving a common goal, be someone who shows respect for colleagues and be willing to learn from others”.
When not relaxing with her two daughters, having the occasional glass of wine, examining her favourite ‘false gold’ aka pyrite stone, Nosi likes to network with Women in Mining of South Africa (WIMSA), go running and attend church.
Asked for her advice for anyone keen to join the mining industry, she says, “Be willing to learn from the people that you think are at lower level from you, because they know a lot based on their long service experience in the organisation. Get your hands dirty. Have a support structure. You need to preserve and have a very strong character”. Wise words, indeed!