Lydie Mazola is Senior Metallurgical Accountant at Metalkol RTR, a copper–cobalt tailings reclamation project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and one of only a handful of women working in a technical role in the mining industry in this country. She holds a BSc in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Lubumbashi, where she was the only woman in her class of 180 students. She has worked at copper and steel sites in DRC and Zimbabwe in hydrometallurgy, mineral processing, and pyrometallurgy operations
By Kathy Sole
My father is a metallurgical engineer and, since I was a child, I dreamt of following in his footsteps. Growing up, though, I remember that the perception was that technical studies are reserved for men. That was something I was determined to challenge. Women are fully capable of undertaking technical studies and, if they wish to do so, they should be encouraged.
I am Senior Metallurgical Accountant at ERG Africa’s Metalkol RTR project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Apart from having developed the metallurgical accounting system, I also
-Evaluate the plant’s performance and issue daily reports;
-Analyse the metallurgical balance and reconciliation;
-Optimise production through data analysis and laboratory test work;
-Analyse budget discrepancies and highlight potential areas of concern;
-Manage the sampling crews as well as laboratory quality control.
The mining industry is very challenging and demands effort and sacrifice. I feel I have to work harder to make sure that I add value to the organisation. My job may sometimes demand that I am on site earlier than others and the last person to leave. I work hard and, through my passion, I have been able to inspire my colleagues.
I am passionate about data and the various ways of analysing it. It helps me to assess the processes, identify issues, find opportunities for improvement, and initiate changes that will positively impact the entire operation.
Yes, I was mentored by:
-the former CEO of Metalkol RTR – John Grosse, who furthered my understanding of the statistical analysis of plant data;
-the Commissioning Manager of Metalkol RTR – Alan Lathwood, who facilitated my understanding of process control, especially at the iron removal circuit;
-the Technical Superintendent of Mutanda Mine – Jacques Lenge, who taught me how to work with advanced Excel, plant simulation, as well as issues related to metal balancing;
-former Chief Metallurgist of Mutanda Mine – Stanford Saungweme, who helped me to improve my management skills;
-the Technical Superintendent of MMG Kinsevere – Patient Ilunga, who showed me how to work with Metsim (process modelling and design software);
-the Training Superintendent of MMG Kinsevere – Jean Bilali, who supported me at the beginning of my career and showed me how the Heavy Media Separation plant was operated.
I would say that working at a production site is not always easy and women can be underestimated in the workplace. However, hard work and persistence will certainly stand you in good stead.
I would love to do an MBA.
I did not know that the career I had chosen would take me away from my parents and my sisters. I have, however, been very fortunate to be able to go home to my husband and children every day.
No. I am still young but, going forward, I would like to be able to have this opportunity.
I believe in equal opportunity for women and rewarding them based on their hard work, effort, and achievements.
I believe one hundred percent that women can bring value. Nowadays we see that women’s achievements are acknowledged. It is also encouraging to see that with determination and hard work, people can lead in any sector and profession. When I started my university studies, I was the only female student in a class of 180 students. However, after two years, another four women had joined the School of Polytechnics at the University of Lubumbashi.
Be self-motivated, be strong, work hard, and challenge yourself every day.
I wish I had known that the road to professional recognition may be longer.
I organise myself to spend quality time with my family.
Extractive Metallurgy of Copper
Du Minerai au Materiau
Statistique Serie Shaum
Principles of Mineral Processing
SAIMM [Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy] publications
I like listening to music as well as travelling.
Lydie is a Senior Metallurgical Accountant at Metalkol RTR. She holds a BSc in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Lubumbashi and has 11 years of practical application in hydrometallurgy, mineral processing, and pyrometallurgy at copper and iron operations. Lydie previously gained career experience from MMG (Anvil Mining) and Mutanda Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Steel Makers and Zisco Steel in Zimbabwe. She joined Metalkol RTR in June 2018, where she continued to successfully develop a metallurgical accounting system, which conforms to international standards, including the AMIRA code. Now, at 36, she finds the challenges at Metalkol RTR rewarding and suitable for her career aspirations.