Nompumelelo Zikalala

Nompumelelo Zikalala is a highly accomplished leader in the mining industry, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. Her remarkable career trajectory and unwavering commitment to excellence have solidified her reputation as a prominent figure in the sector.

Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, Nompumelelo developed a passion for the mining industry at a young age. She pursued a BSc in chemical engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand and completed leadership development at the London Business School. Her educational background laid a strong foundation for her future success in the mining sector.

Nompumelelo’s professional journey is characterized by a series of notable achievements and leadership roles. Prior to her current position as CEO of Kumba Iron Ore Ltd, she held various senior executive positions within the organization, including Vice President of Operations and Head of Production. Her experience and expertise span across different aspects of the mining value chain, from exploration and production to logistics and strategic planning.

Throughout her career, Nompumelelo has consistently demonstrated her ability to drive operational efficiency and optimize resource utilization. Her strategic vision and meticulous attention to detail have led to significant improvements in productivity, profitability, and stakeholder satisfaction. Under her leadership, Kumba Iron Ore Ltd has achieved remarkable milestones and solidified its position as a leading player in the global iron ore market.

Nompumelelo’s dedication to her profession extends beyond her role at Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. She actively participates in industry associations and initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable mining practices and fostering collaboration within the sector. Her contributions to the mining community have earned her widespread recognition and respect.

Mpumi started her career at De Beers in 2001 as a process engineer and worked in various leadership levels within production management. In 2007, she was appointed General Manager at De Beers Kimberley Mines, becoming the first female General Manager in the De Beers Group. In 2010, she was appointed General Manager of De Beers Voorspoed mine and three and a half years later became Senior Vice-President of De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa. Mpumi was promoted to Deputy CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines in November 2017 and to the position of Managing Director, De Beers Group Managed Operations, in April 2019, covering De Beers Group’s operations in South Africa and Canada.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Nompumelelo is known for her passion for mentoring and empowering the next generation of mining professionals. She is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion in the industry, championing initiatives that create equal opportunities for underrepresented groups. Nompumelelo firmly believes that a diverse workforce drives innovation and fosters a more inclusive and sustainable mining industry.

When she’s not immersed in her work, Nompumelelo enjoys exploring the natural beauty of her surroundings, indulging in outdoor activities like hiking and photography. She is also an avid reader, constantly seeking inspiration from various sources to broaden her knowledge and perspectives.

Nompumelelo Zikalala’s illustrious career in the mining industry, coupled with her unwavering dedication to sustainable practices and empowerment, has positioned her as a trailblazer and role model for aspiring mining professionals. Her exceptional leadership, coupled with her passion for driving positive change, continues to shape the future of the mining industry in South Africa and beyond.

Mpumi serves as a Trustee of the University of Johannesburg Trust and is the Chairperson of the Private Sector Forum of the South African National AIDS Council. She was a winner of the 2018 Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining awards issued in Mayfield, London.

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