Beneath the surface is a How we made it in Africa series, where we interview executives from Africa’s mining industry.
1. How did you get into this industry?
I got into this industry through my academic and professional training. I am a trained geologist with a PhD in Economic Geology from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. I also have a MSc in Mineral Evaluation from École des Mines de Nancy, in France. I started with a BSc in Geology from the University of Zambia (UNZA). My entry in the industry career-wise was through the then Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) when I joined them as a geologist after graduating from UNZA.
2. If there was one thing you could tell your younger self before taking on this position, what would it be?
You have to be strong and thick-skinned.
3. What is currently the greatest threat to your company?
Cyclical commodity prices, which affect the bottom lines of our investee companies (about 90% of our investments are in the copper sector), and in turn affect their dividend pay-outs and ZCCM-IH’s cash flow.
4. And the industry?
Apart from the cyclical commodity prices, the power deficit being experienced in the country is one of the greatest threats, as the mining sector gobbles about 51% of the total electricity generated within the country.
5. How do you like to start each work day?
I start by heading to the gym or a taking a run before going to the office.
6. Name three characteristics required to survive in this job?
Flexibility; being a firm decision-maker; having a thick skin.
7. What strategies work best to motivate staff?
Building confidence in them; giving credit where it is due; avoiding micro-managing.
8. If you could retire anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In Zambia, particularly in the northern part of the country, in either in Chinsali or Mpika, a game farm near a river.
ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc is an investment holding company. Based in Lusaka, one of the the company’s main activities is managing the Zambian government’s stake in the mining sector.