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7 African women who made a fortune in mining

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Anna Mokgokong

While Africa boasts abundant natural resources and a burgeoning mining industry, gender disparities persist. Factors such as limited access to education, unequal opportunities, and cultural biases have contributed to the under-representation of women in critical roles within the sector. However, the few successful African women who have risen to prominence in mining are inspiring examples of what is possible with determination, resilience, and expertise.

Men have historically dominated the mining sector, and this trend is particularly pronounced in Africa. Despite the continent’s vast mineral wealth, only a handful of successful African women have broken through the industry’s gender barriers to achieve prominence.

Meet seven African women who have founded, co-founded, or invested in mining ventures within the continent and accumulated phenomenal wealth in the process. 

Daphne Mashile-Nkosi

Nationality: South African 

South African manganese tycoon Daphne Mashile-Nkosi is a co-founder and the executive chairperson of Kalagadi Manganèse, a company that engages in the exploration and production of manganese in the Kalahari Basin, Northern Cape in South Africa. The three farms on which Kalagadi holds new order mining rights contain approximately 960 million tonnes of manganese ore deposits. A mining veteran, Mashile-Nkosi was a co-founder of Eyesizwe Coal, which merged with Kumba Resources’ non-iron ore assets to form Exxaro. 

Bridgette Radebe

Nationality: South African 

The elder sister to South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, Bridgette Radebe started as a contract miner in the 80s, managing shafts and procuring for the larger mining houses and subsequently established Mmakau mining, which has assets in platinum, gold, uranium, coal, chrome, exploration and Mining interests. She is a former president of the South African Mining Development Association.

Anna Mokgokong

Nationality: South African 

Anna Mokgokong is the chairperson of Seriti Resources, one of South Africa’s largest coal mining companies. Seriti operates six large-scale, opencast, and underground thermal coal mines, predominately supplying Eskom power stations. Mokgokong is a co-founder and the executive chairperson of Community Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd. (CIH), a 100-percent Black-owned, women-led company with an investment portfolio of more than $900 million and holdings in mining, energy, healthcare, ICT, Infrastructure, and logistics companies. CIH is one of the largest shareholders in Seriti Resources. 

Nadia Abdul Aziz

Nationality: Ghanaian 

Nadia Abdul Aziz, a finance professional, is a director of Asante Gold. She played a crucial role in Asante Gold’s recent acquisition of Chirano Gold Mine, an open-pit and underground mining operation in southwestern Ghana, immediately south of the company’s Bibiani Gold Mine, thanks to her many years of experience in mining finance positions. Aziz’s 5.8-percent stake in the gold exploration company is currently valued at CAD20.8 million ($24.5 million), making her one of Ghana’s wealthiest executives and investors.

Emotan Josephine Aburime-Shine

Nationality: Nigerian  

Emotan Josephine Aburime-Shine, a Nigerian mining entrepreneur, is the founder of Piramen Ventures Limited. This Abuja-based company mines industrial minerals as well as precious and semi-precious gemstones. It processes its own mined and even gems that it buys from local dealers. Its gem processing department cuts, polishes, carves, and tumbles gemstones to add value to them. Piramen Ventures Limited is also investing heavily in artisanal and small-scale miners in Nigeria by training them on identifying materials in their communities and safer and more productive mining practices. Emotan has successfully trained lapidarists on gemstone beneficiation over the last few years.

Vanessa Gounden 

Nationality: South African 

Vanessa Gounden, 62, is the co-founder of HolGoun Investment Holdings, a South African investment holding company. HolGoun Investment Holdings has its primary investment in coal and uranium. HolGoun owns prospecting rights to over 91,000 hectares in the Springbok Flats in the Settlers region of the Limpopo Province through its subsidiaries, HolGoun Uranium & Power. HolGoun Energy owns mining rights in Thermal Coal (Canyon Springs), Uranium, and Coking Coal. HolGoun owns and operates Leeuw Mining (Anthracite) in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

Lindiwe Nakedi

Nationality: South African 

Lindiwe Nakedi owns and manages Gubhani Exploration, a South African 100-percent Black-female-owned surface diamond drilling company. 

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