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Our Leadership

Manie Kriel

Managing Director

[email protected]

Manie Kriel - Managing Director


Eduan Pieterse

Director

[email protected]

Eduan Pieterse - Director


George Olivier

Director

[email protected]

George Olivier


Ben Bruwer

Director

[email protected]

Ben Bruwer


Lalieu Marais

Company Secretary

[email protected]

Lalieu Marais


Manie Kriel

Chief Executive Officer

Manie Kriel - Chief Executive Officer[email protected]

Starting VBKom in 2008 with 4 close friends was a dream come true!

I hold a Mining Engineering degree from the University of Pretoria which I obtained in 1994, as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership from UNISA, 2001.

I have a passion for business and would describe myself as a streetwise entrepreneur. I dream to build VBKom to a company that will compete internationally with the best and to leave a legacy. I am proud to be African, and love this continent and its people. I do not like that our continent is associated with corruption and negativity, and believe that I can contribute to change this perception, through quality outputs and continuous hard work.

I started my career as a Mining Engineer with Anglo Gold at Vaal Reefs in 1995. In 1999 I had a great opportunity to move to Germany where I was privileged to work on a large mechanised open pit mine with a network of bucket wheel excavators. I received training on project management – the “German way”, and returned to South Africa to manage the commissioning of a new processing facility in Delmas, Mpumalanga. My career progressed nicely along the operational- and production management route and I was appointed as General Mine Manager at the age of 35, responsible for four alluvial diamond mines, seven beneficiation plants and two mining towns in the Northern Cape Province. In 2006 I left production and started a “new” career as mining consultant, something that I love and will hopefully continue doing way beyond retirement age.   

I was born and raised in Johannesburg. My dad was a blue collar worker until he started his own manufacturing business when I was in high school.  His work ethic and generosity towards others has made a huge impression on my life. I married my varsity sweetheart as soon as I graduated – 20 years of absolute bliss. Our daughter turned 6 in April. I love all things South-African – braai, rugby, nature and good humour. We enjoy travelling abroad when the Rand exchange rate allows it.

My life philosophy is simple: “Surrounding myself with people with greater potential than myself, will ensure that I continue to grow.”

Eduan Pieterse

Director - Africa & Energy

Eduan Pieterse Director - Africa & Energy[email protected]

I come from the Karoo, but grew up in Port Elizabeth. By grace I received the opportunity to study in Pretoria and as an undergraduate I studied Agricultural Engineering whilst sharing subjects and classes with my Mining Engineering colleagues. Unbeknownst, but this trivial aspect would lead to me joining VBKom 13 years later. As a postgraduate I never actually applied myself in the agriculture sector as my Master’s dissertation opened the door for me to enter into the world of consulting & strategy. It was at that time during a brief lapse of concentration that I enrolled into a post graduate diploma in Taxation at Wits, where I proved to the rest of the lawyers in class that willpower trumps intelligence!

My interest in Enterprise Risk Management and Project Management evolved whilst I was consulting to the Regulatory and Credit Risk divisions of Absa Bank, and implementing Credit Rating Systems for Commercial and Business Banking. It was only after 8 years in the corporate world that I came full circle to rejoin my mining colleagues at VBKom.

My StrengthsFinder results corroborate that I am a perpetual optimist who loves to pull people into the conversation by sharing ideas about future possibilities. I am an early riser with a passion for leadership, learning and growing people. I have a weakness for hot-cross buns, and enjoy listening to almost all types of music, as long as it is loud.

My wife and three children come first, followed closely by a good red wine, freshly baked bread and photography.

George Olivier

Director - Base & Precious Metals

George Olivier[email protected]

Director | Principal Mining Engineer

I grew up in the mining world, spending most of my school years in the mining town of Thabazimbi in the Limpopo Province. I was fortunate to get a full study bursary from the then Iscor Mining.  After achieving my Mining Engineering degree in 1999 in the first class from the University of Pretoria, I started my career in underground coal mining at the Tshikondeni Colliery.  With the very well-structured graduate-in-training programme of the old Iscor Mining division, I obtained a fiery underground blasting certificate and production experience in both coal and open pit mining.  I continued my mining engineering career at Thabazimbi Iron Ore open pit mine in the production and mine planning departments, obtaining my Mine Manager’s Certificate of Competence during this time in 2004. 

In 2005 I made the decision to join the mining consulting world.   I was one of the founding members of VBKom Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd in 2008 – a business that has grown successfully in the mining engineering consulting space, serving more than 20 clients at any given time.  In 2012 I obtained the status of Professional Engineer from the Engineering Council of South Africa.  I am also a Member of the South African Institute for Mining and Metallurgy.  I am a competent person for reserve sign off in terms of international codes (SAMREC, JORC, NI43-101). I have managed various technical mining studies in the gold-, copper-, platinum, nickel-, aggregates, limestone, coal-, vanadium, fluorspar-, manganese-, and iron ore mining environments. These projects were a combination of open pit, open cast and underground mining projects.  Numerous of these projects and mines were distributed throughout southern, eastern, central and western Africa.

I love to travel; the opportunity to combine travel with my interest in the mining sector is truly a blessing to me.

Lalieu Marias

Company Secretary  

Lalieu Marias[email protected]

A born and bred city girl since ’79, I thrive under pressure. I am a problem solver and a solution finder, being faced with challenges, especially if it entails financial numbers makes my day. My meticulous attention to detail and team playing nature makes me well suited in my role at VBKom. My main responsibilities at VBKom entail the management of admin, financial, legal and HR functions for the company.

Before joining VBKom in 2009, I built my working experience through an array of industries including banking, medical and property management. During my career I completed a number of higher certificates in business management, bookkeeping, financial and project management. My highest qualification to date is a B.Com degree in Financial Management. My educational aspirations do not stop there though and I am a proud newly enrolled student studying towards a B.Com in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.

I have a passion for people and firmly believe my purpose in life is to turn the world around me into a positive experience for others.  I am also family orientated and enjoy nothing more than spending time with my husband and my beautiful 3 year old. My hobbies include cycling, travelling and a self-confessed puzzle building addict.

My future aspirations entail continuing to create positive change wherever I go, further my education and arm myself with new tools to positively influence others and to grow my family and expose them to all the wonderful cultures of the world through travel.