posted: 14/02/2022

The sky is the limit

Vhengani Mudau, a Metallurgy graduate and now Process Superintendent at Glencore Lion Smelter in Limpopo, says she owes her quick rise up the career ladder to simply being present and bold. 

How did your career in mining begin? 
During my second year of Metallurgy studies at the Tshwane University of Technology, I got a bursary from the then “Xstrata”. Soon after completing my studies, I joined Lion Smelter in 2013 as an engineer in training. As I grew in my role, I supplemented my knowledge with a Middle Management Programme from the North West University and a Financial Management course with UNISA. 
 
Tell us more about your role at Glencore? 
I am currently a Production Superintendent for the phase two pelletizing plant. I am tasked with ensuring that production targets are met at the highest quality — through the most profitable means and safest methods.
 
In your experience, what is the relationship between mining and science? 
Science forms the very basis of this industry. It is through scientific knowledge that we were able to transition from the Stone Age to the Iron age, right through to where we are today.
 
What role does science play in mining?
Through new scientific research and discoveries, we now enjoy increased productivity and safety improvements. Currently, science also plays a major role in resolving some of the problems that resulted from the consequences of our mining processes and methods. Soon, we will move away from fossil fuels to using renewable energy. I also believe that Artificial Intelligence will assist in preventing fatal accidents in the mines by eliminating human beings from danger.
 
Any advice for women looking to pursue a career in mining?
Walk into the mining industry knowing that there may be challenges ahead, but there are practically no limits to what you can achieve with the right support. I’m lucky to work for a company that allows for innovation & continual growth. With Glencore, the sky is the limit!