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Sehlare Sa Meetlwa
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.
I joined VBKom in January 2011 and it was my first introduction to the mining industry and to consulting. Having previously hailed from a medical environment it was, needless to say…a bit of a rollercoaster ride! The opportunity to learn, grow and develop was however the reason for the major change in career and it has been an incredible experience thus far; rich with learning (almost!) everything about mining, projects, project support and most importantly - people.
In my 5 years at VBKom, I have worked on 11 projects which collectively spanned all the project study phases from concept, pre-feasibility and feasibility, and included Stay-in-Business projects as part of the operations at mining sites as well as general operational support. I’ve had exposure to the manganese, copper, cobalt and iron ore commodities, of which iron ore has been the most predominant. I have also obtained two international accreditation in project management; PRINCE 2 Practitioner and CAPM, and I am the scheduling specialist in the Project Support team. Providing project support to projects in the mining industry and especially from a consulting point of view has taught me that excellence, innovation and a can-do attitude makes all the difference in service to our clients.
I am passionate about being excellent in what I do and in turning problems into practical and appropriate solutions. Challenges and action excite me, and being in an industry where every site, project, department and team is different, challenges are not in short supply and neither is the need for action to address those challenges! I firmly believe that making a difference, adding value and improving people’s lives – client, colleague or friend - brings the biggest satisfaction in our professional and personal lives.
My interests outside the working environment include extensive gardening, of which orchids are my favourite. I have about 200 plants in my greenhouse! I also love being outdoors, reading, and mountain biking, but my biggest love is for my family. I love spending time with them and seeing them happy.