“Strong women have the chance to make the change they need in the mining industry” – Impala Platinum (Implats) leading women weigh in

“Strong women have the chance to make the change they need in the mining industry” - Impala Platinum (Implats) leading women weigh in

Written by Staff Writer

Oct 12, 2021

To listen to the full podcast, please click here 


The mining industry has long been one of South Africa’s largest sectors, but women are still a minority in its workforce. Impala Platinum (Implats) is one of the world’s foremost producers of platinum and associated platinum group metals (PGMs). The company aims to attract the best people in the industry and to maximise their potential, increasing organisational capacity and positioning Implats as an employer of choice. At the forefront of their mission is Diversity & Inclusion, making sure that more and more women are welcomed into the sector – taking on various roles in leadership, especially. 

In the latest Standard Bank Top Women podcast, Fiona Wakelin, Head of Editorial for Topco Media, engages in conversation with Thabile Makgala, Executive: Eastern Limb at Implats, and Lee-Ann Samuel, Implats Group Executive: People. Both women weigh in on the transformational change taking place within Implats, and the larger mining sector in South Africa. Key themes addressed were organisational development, the role of women in mining, and important leadership statistics.


Key takeaways to look out for in the podcast: 
  • At Implats, there is a major focus on Diversity & Inclusion and organisational development involving women employees. Women empowerment and embracing women’s-perspectives is essential for the organisation.
  • It is imperative that we work together, within the mining sector, to drive  societal change through corporate streams. 
  • It is suggested that a better ‘Women in Mining Proposition’ be drawn up and implemented to attract more women to the sector. We must work closely with universities and colleges to show the importance of the sector and why a career in Mining is a great, viable choice. 
  • With the introduction of new technological innovations, the ‘manly’, physical work is no longer the only role that can be taken up in the sector. There are various positions that require more women onboard. 
  • Retention and promotion of women in mining needs to be addressed. We need to ensure that the mining environment is enabling women to progress into leadership roles. 
  • In terms of Gender Strategies in the sector, policies must not discriminate. You need to look at your data and make informed decisions on diversity and inclusion. 
  • Gender Mainstreaming is what has proven to assist both men and women employees in the workspace. Change and empowerment starts at the top and trickles down as a result of quality leadership. 
  • Technology mechanisation is great for driving diversity and inclusion; it affords the opportunity to get women more involved in the sector and utilise their skills. 
  • Traditionally, we’ve been looking at women in mining from a very superficial level. More needs to be done so that we can see systemic change happen. We need better succession planning so that we can retain women in mining. 
  • It is essential that we preserve and protect our women in mining so that they have some sort of stability in society. Women are the backbone of the South African economy. We, therefore, must ensure that they are economically empowered.


Serving almost two decades in the mining industry, Thabile Makgala, Executive: Eastern Limb at Implats, Impala Platinum Holding Limited., is a Mining Engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering (cum laude) and an MBA. Thabile also holds a Mine Managers Certificate of Competency, as well as a Mine Overseers Certificate of Competency. In addition, she is a member of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. As a Director and patron of Women in Mining South Africa (WiMSA), Thabile is a strong proponent of the advancement of women in mining and has been recognised globally for her work in this area. She was one of 16 South African women featured in the 2018 list of ‘Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining’ compiled by the London-based non-profit organisation, Women in Mining UK.

Lee-Ann Samuel, Implats Group Executive: People, has obtained notable achievements during her years in the industry, including being awarded HR Practitioner of the Year while at Nedbank. She was also awarded the African Award Association (SARA) Reward Practitioner of the Year Award while at ABSA, and SARA Reward Strategist of the Year while at Goldfields. She holds a BA Psychology degree and an Honours degree in Political Science – both from the University of Johannesburg.



*For more, check out our bumper 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here

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