My style is having one goal and one dream in mind – Lorraine Mothobekhi talks about her career as a field geologist

Published: 08/04/2016

It was in 2008 that I first came to De Beers seeking holiday work, but I was unsuccessful. However, I was so impressed with the organisation that it ignited a spark in me and I was determined to work for De Beers.

That year, I completed my honours degree in geology from the University of Venda and was awarded a place on a two-year graduate programme by the Mining Qualification Authority and was assigned to De Beers as my host.

I started working as a geology trainee at De Beers’ Venetia Mine. During the programme and my time at Venetia, I got an opportunity to work in the Mine Production Department as well as on the Resource Extension Project.

In 2011, I joined De Beers Angola Prospecting and, a year later, landed at De Beers RSA Exploration as a field geologist.

During my years with De Beers, the company has supported my career growth by providing me with opportunities to work in different areas of the business, from the mining operations through to the exploration environment, and in a different country.

Women have brought a very positive leadership style into the mining industry as a whole. They are naturally capable of leading, organising and delivering. My leadership style is about working together with all kinds of people with one goal and one dream in mind, and learning from mistakes and ultimately doing a good job.

I believe that a person’s background does not determine her destiny – hard work and dedication are the only way to success.

What has been the biggest challenge I have had to overcome in my career? I think having to deliver in an environment where there was a language barrier.

While working in Angola, I found it challenging when communicating with the drill site assistants and some of my colleagues. I used hand signs to ask them to do something. It was very funny because some of the hand signs meant something different to them. But after some time I learnt a few Portuguese words.

During my time at Venetia Mine, I fell pregnant and so, for my own safety, I was restricted from working in some of the areas of the mine.

As a trainee, I felt that I held back my career and didn’t get as much training as I wanted to. However, with the support from the De Beers Training Centre, I was able to complete my training successfully.

I firmly believe that, by knowing your goals and interests, you can sustain your career path. The mining industry is a very tough environment, but with a goal set out of interest and with good support, any destiny can be reached.