Part of a new generation of black professionals in the mining industry, Mondli Magagula is the principal geologist and geotechnical engineer for Exxaro Resources, one of South Africa’s largest black-empowered resource companies, and the youngest head of department in its history.
Magagula, who has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a master’s in civil engineering from Stellenbosch University, prides himself on ensuring things are done as efficiently as possible, regardless of the challenges. Coming from his earlier career in consulting, where small budgets could make or break a project, he has been working to improve efficiency in the mining industry. His goal is to do things more effectively to “save costs and not be afraid to implement new technologies to streamline processes”.
Magagula emphasises the importance of learning, and how the most complex problems he has faced recently are solved using knowledge built in his first years of employment.
The niche field of geotechnical engineering does not have many black professionals and Magagula believes it’s because people are not aware of this field. He only learned about it in his third year of university. One of his long-term goals is to inform young black people about the industry, and inspire them to take up a career in a sector that has historically been neglectful in offering roles to them.