Anglo American

Ntokozo Nyathi

Q

A

Why did you want to work for Anglo American?

I’ve always known that I wanted to be in the mining industry simply because I have seen the impact that this industry has had and continues to have on the South African economy as well as communities that are just like the one I am from. Anglo American is a huge player in this industry and their 100 year old history is also embedded in that of South Africa. Anglo American has essentially been at the forefront of the mining industry for the last 100 years. A company cannot possibly do that without strong and strategic leadership, without comprehensive government and community relations, without solid technical and experienced personnel, without constantly being ahead of everyone in terms of the latest technology and innovations and without having a sound brand that is based on values that resonate with most people. I wanted to be a part of this company because of who they are and what they represent.

 
 

What attracted you as a graduate?

During my market research, I quickly realized that it is a general industry understanding that of the industry giants, Anglo American is arguably one of the few that takes graduate development and training extremely seriously. The training is well structured and intentional. Also, given that Anglo American had a large footprint that has remained sustainably intact over the years, I knew they had a wealth of knowledge, skills and experienced people for me to tap into.

 
 

What programmes did you take part in?

Stats for Mineral Processing Engineers

From my university days, I’ve always had a score to settle with Stats. In this stats course, I realized that I don’t have a problem with it, I just needed it to be made more relevant and practical for me to apply it successfully in minerals processing. Being able to now base all my decisions and recommendations on statistical reasoning has given me much needed confidence in the work that I do.

The Achiever Programme (TAP)

A Leadership programme aimed at making sure that all delegates are made aware of the dynamics around understanding oneself and the impact on others, the business and the community. For me, this is important because having a firm understanding of how I can integrate all three will help and influence the successful career path that I see for myself

Operational Risk Management

This programme is based around consciously being able to identify, analyze and eliminate the safety risks we face in production. Being able to do that for myself as well as for my team is important so that we do safe work at all times.

 
 

What advice would you give to graduates who want to embark on a career at Anglo American?

Know who you are first - this is your anchor. Have a look at the Anglo American values, this is what the company believes in – morally this may or may not be your compass. Thereafter come in with a great attitude and willingness to learn. Everything else will stem from that.

 
 

What differentiates the BLAST programme to other graduate development programmes in the market?

All the work you will do has meaning and is intentional. From day one, you are given real responsibilities and opportunities to make a difference. Your career path is unique and the opportunities are largely up to you to grab them, be it in the corporate office (JHB, London, Canada, Singapore etc.) or the mines/plants/refineries (SA, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Finland etc.). No programme in the world, other than BLAST, makes me this excited about my own future!

 
 

Which opportunity has benefited you the most, from a career perspective as an Anglo BLASTer?

Two things stand out for me by far:

The team I am a part of

If you take a look at a generic process flow sheet, for each major unit operation, there is someone in the team whom I consider an industry giant in that field. Being surrounded by people with a minimum of 15 years’ specialist experience in comminution, flotation, hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, metal accounting, process optimization etc. makes me wake up every morning wanting to learn more.

Project manager

After just a year I was made Project Manager of a +R8 million project that is set to make a huge difference in one of our businesses. The skills I picked up will carry me for the rest of my career. From project management, scheduling, stakeholder engagement, community relations, dealing with different schools of thought, technical competencies etc.

 
 

What challenges have you had to overcome in your role as an Anglo BLASTER and how did you overcome them?

People won’t just trust you from the start. The best way to deal with that is to put your head down, focus and get the work done. Do that first, produce undisputable results and watch the trust come naturally.

Different people and environments will challenge how you think and operate. The best way to overcome this is to know your audience and be adaptable.

 
 

Have your personal and professional goals been met on this programme? And if so, how?

I came into the program knowing that I want to spend my formative years becoming a fully-fledged metallurgist. I wanted to build a strong technical foundation for at least the first two years and I wanted to contribute to the health of my discipline. So far, all of these continue to be met daily. I personally believe that leaders should first know what they are talking about thereafter they can innovate and grow the company sustainably.