Now part of the multi-national Sandvik Group, Spartan-based Kwatani is a Level 2 B-BBEE accredited South African company which is committed to economic transformation and gender equality.
An important reflection of this status is the fact that 50% of the company’s management are women. Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin highlights that the industry has progressed significantly over recent years, opening its doors to women in mining.
“Working in the mining sector never gets boring,” says Schoepflin. “It is unique, fast paced and more adventurous than any other office job. However, it is certainly not for sissies.”
Working in mining has taught her to be resilient, focussed and agile, she says – but teamwork is essential and the opportunities out there are endless. Being a major contributor to global economies, mining is critical for the supply of so many products essential for daily life.
“It is great to be able to work with our customers to provide something that touches so many lives,” she says. “And when you love what you do – as much as I do – you never hit the ‘off’ button.”
Her role includes driving business strategy and engaging with Kwatani colleagues to ensure the business remains proactively agile and delivers reliable, sustainable results and value to all stakeholders. Keeping her going are the bold and decisive decisions that have to be made each day to beat the odds. She also relies on daily morning gym, good coffee and her fantastic colleagues.
Kwatani’s sales manager for southern Africa, Frengelina Mabotja, also relishes the excitement of the mining industry’s opportunities. Her exposure to the industry has given her valuable platforms for career growth and personal development.
“The most exciting one is the gradual inclusion of women in what has traditionally been – for the longest time – a male-dominated industry,” says Mabotja. “It is so rewarding for me to pave the way for other young women.”
In her sales role, she evaluates metallurgical processes and provides engineered vibrating equipment solutions and services to mining customers. She is also responsible for business development – building client relationships to promote, maintain and expand current markets.
The factors that most motivate her are her competent and committed colleagues, who make the journey smooth and worthwhile. She also appreciates the daily interaction with other stakeholders in the industry – learning something new or adding value to their businesses.
She points to a general misperception about the technical know-how of women or their ability to do certain tasks. This can result in women having to continuously prove themselves or work twice as hard.
“At every opportunity, I challenge myself to always be open to learning and to continuously invest in my personal and professional growth,” she says. “With determination, as well as the right attitude and support structure within the workplace, one can achieve a lot. Whatever your profession, we build and thrive through inclusion and diversity.”