The Minerals Council South Africa is a mining industry employers’ organisation, which exists to serve their members and promote their interests, and it’s here that Katlego Letsoalo is using his position as monitoring and evaluation specialist to reshape the perception of mining and its relationship with mining communities.
It’s a unique role, requiring him to move between the field and the office, assisting mines to operate safely or helping graduates to find training and employment in the mining sector. One might consider him lucky, as his personal goal and job responsibilities are truly aligned, but Letsoalo and his journey emphasise the importance of continuous learning.
At the moment he’s awaiting the results of his engineering master’s thesis on mineral economics; was identified as one of 23 future leaders in African extraction and development by the University of Cape Town; and successfully lead a team of young professionals who tackle various challenges experienced in the mining industry in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
A career highlight was being nominated by the Minerals Council and Business Unity South Africa to represent employer organisations at the 2019 International Labour Organisation Global Youth Employment Forum in Nigeria, looking at the global challenge of unemployment and possible policy interventions.
They’re not all academic lessons, Letsoalo explains: he’s witnessed firsthand the dangers of mining, because his position requires him to evaluate and monitor the work of others.
“People should be given the freedom to do their work, but this should be followed by adequate support and oversight,” Letsoalo advises, with insight that only comes with experience.
It’s this experience he hopes to use to help people to realise the true meaning of shared value and responsible mining, as well as offering mining communities and young people the skills development they need.