Lydie Mazola

Lydie Mazola

Job title (at time of interview)Senior Metallurgical Accountant at Metalkol


Be self-motivated, be strong, work hard, and challenge yourself every day

September 2020

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

  • How did mining come to you? How did you choose mining as a career?

    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.

  • Please describe your current role.

    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.

  • What is your experience of being a woman working in the mining sector?

    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.

  • What are you passionate about in your work?

    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.

  • Have you had mentors and sponsors that helped you on the way?

    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.

  • What challenges have you experienced by virtue of working in an industry that is predominantly male? Do you feel you have had to adapt to ‘fit’ the industry?

    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.

  • What would you love to do next?

    I would love to do an MBA.

  • What is one thing you wish you’d been told when you were starting out that you know now?

    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.

  • Do you sit on a board? If not, would you like to?

    No. I am still young but, going forward, I would like to be able to have this opportunity.

  • What is your opinion in the women on boards’ debate? Are you pro quotas or against them?

    I believe in equal opportunity for women and rewarding them based on their hard work, effort, and achievements.

  • Do you believe women in mining groups can help to change the image of the industry and make the sector more attractive to women?

    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.

  • Any advice to young women starting out in their careers? What do you wish you’d know when you were 25?

    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.

  • What is your secret to work–life balance?

    I organise myself to spend quality time with my family.

  • Do you have any books that you can recommend for professional development?

    Extractive Metallurgy of Copper
    Du Minerai au Materiau
    Chimie Analytique
    Statistique Serie Shaum
    Principles of Mineral Processing

  • What other books or materials are you reading?

    SAIMM [Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy] publications
    The Bible
    Amina magazine
    Elle magazine

  • Have you any hobbies, pastimes, or secret talents that you would like to tell us about?

    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.