As the month of March draws to a close, we celebrate yet another woman who is making strides in the mining sector. Every year on the 8th of March, the world observes International Women’s Day. On this day the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The women of Arnot Opco are part of a global sorority that is changing the face of the corporate sector. Mahikeng-born Abigail Lekwa works in project management for the Arnot mine. Not one for routine, she thrives on the uncertainty and the unpredictability of this work. The 40-year-old mechanical engineering graduate epitomises the modern woman who is breaking all barriers. This is her story…
Tell us about yourself
I am originally from Mahikeng in the North West. I am currently based in Pretoria. I hold a Btech in Mechanical Engineering and BSc Honours in Technology Management
What’s your role at Arnot Opco and how long have you been at the company?
I joined Arnot Opco in August 2019 as a consultant. I was initially part of the integration team. Then I later joined the company on a full time basis in July 2020. My role is in projects, responsible for project management for all rehabilitation and mine startup projects. I also assist in SLP compilation and community development.
What do you enjoy working at Arnot Opco?
Working at Arnot Opco is a privilege. Being part of something so dynamic is truly inspirational. Starting up a mine is a rare experience and I love every minute of it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to be part of company’s growth strategy. As a small company there’s still a lot of potential for growth. As the company expands, I would like to make sure that I contribute as much as I possibly can towards its growth.
What’s the most interesting element about your job?
One thing I don’t like is a routine job! So, what I love about projects is that they are unique. There’s always a new element or dimension that needs to be dealt with.
Being exposed to the mining industry as a woman – do you believe this is the industry for many more women?
Mining can be challenging at times. It is a harsh environment, especially working underground. But, over the years companies with the help of legislations, have made tremendous effort to make the working conditions are bearable. I salute women who work underground on a full time basis.
Finally, Arnot Opco is run by a young black woman. What kind of inspiration do you draw from a woman leader like Bontle Aphane?
Our CEO is one inspirational woman I know. She is a hard worker and pays attention to detail. She has accumulated a lot of experience over a short period of time and with that she is flying the flag very high. On a lighter note, it always great to be around her, her laughter is infectious!!!