African Mining Network

AMN was established to develop and build relationships across Africa’s mining community, and give the world a preview of what is happening in mining in Africa.

AMN - Transformation starts with our leaders – comment by Yolanda Torrisi

Yol headshot May 2011

Quality leadership is a cornerstone of success to structural change in industries such as South Africa’s mining sectors. Like the explorers and producers of other nations on the continent, South Africa’s industry has been presented with a blueprint for change. Now is the time to take up the opportunity and work towards a new renaissance for the industry.

Leading academic and former African Mining Network guest speaker Professor Fred Cawood has argued now is the time for leadership in South Africa’s industry – to achieve the country’s 2030 vision for a prosperous, competitive and transformed mining industry.

The Wits Mining Institute director says good leadership requires appropriate skills, offering up three vital focuses for building these skill sets in organisations and the industry sectors.

Professor Cawood presents that a 21st-century approach is required for leaders hoping to make an impact in their workplaces.

Mining looks different in the 21st century, and models for successful improvement can take a digital form. Just like the WITS Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory, DigiMine, the 24/7 digitally monitored realistic underground mining environment industry participants can use to model and understand the environments they hope to implement safely in a modern mine planning regime.

In the days of industry disruption in many conventional industries like transportation, food and beverage, and information technology, it makes sense to focus on digital efficiency and understanding this is helping build a new future.

Professor Cawood argues new, exciting methodologies that can be applied in an organisation are a way to bring impact back to the workplace.

Leaders have a lot to learn from each other on the disruption front. We must see each opportunity to catch up as an opportunity to learn while we also network and do business.

Empowered leaders bring self-awareness and reflection to their roles to build success and now is the time to work on one’s self.

Networking, personal development and taking lessons from coaches and mentors – these are the ways to change our mining industries on the continent.

As leaders of industry, we need emotional intelligence and now is the time to build up that wisdom to achieve a new vision for industry.

South Africa hopes to return mining to an important and growing industry and that is an admirable goal.

To achieve such a vision requires consistency at the government level, but also the personal level,

Mining commissions, cadastre building, consistent and predictable mining and investment laws, these are all tools for structural change and industry transformation. But so too are people. Let’s work on ourselves as we work on a vision and set our minds to renaissance; one that can benefit us all.

- Yolanda Torrisi is Chairperson of The African Mining Network and comments on African mining issues and the growing global interest in the continent. Contact: