Home News Mpumi Zikalala to lead Kumba Iron Ore

Mpumi Zikalala to lead Kumba Iron Ore


Her focus will include building on firm’s strong safety, operational performance track record.

MPUMI Zikalala is the new chief executive designate of Pretoria-headquartered Kumba Iron Ore. File photo.

MPUMI Zikalala was named the chief executive officer (CEO) designate of Pretoria head-quartered Kumba Iron Ore making her the latest woman to lead a JSE Top 40 listed mining company.

Zikalala joins Natascha Viljoen who was appointed as the first woman CEO at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) in April last year.

Zikalala, Viljoen and Nolitha Fakude, the chairperson of Anglo American’s management board in South Africa are the three women who head the interests of Anglo American Plc in South Africa.

Commenting on her appointment Zikalala said it was a privilege.

“My focus will be to build on Kumba’s strong safety and operational performance track record, strengthening strategic partnerships and unlocking further value from the business. I look forward to joining Kumba’s world-class team and contributing to the next phase of Kumba’s journey to be the most valued company in the eyes of our stakeholders,” Zikalala.

Zikalala is currently the managing director of De Beers Managed Operations and will step into the shoes of Themba Mkhwanazi who has been appointed as CEO of Anglo American’s global Bulk Commodities business following the decision of Seamus French to leave the group after 14 years. Both appointments will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Zikalala was previously the first woman to be appointed as vice president for De Beers and brings over 20 years of mining experience to the Kumba board having started her career as a chemical engineering bursar at Anglo American.

“Her appointment is another demonstration of our commitment as a business towards nurturing and supporting the success of women. We look forward to her leadership in advancing the strategic and operational aspirations of Kumba,” Kumba chairperson Terence Goodlace said.

Mkhwanazi, has been Kumba’s CEO since 2016, and prior to that he was head of Anglo American’s South African coal assets. Under his leadership Kumba has achieved five years without a work-related fatal incident.

Mkhwanazi said he looks forward to his new role and collaborating with partners and stakeholders across Anglo American’s broader Bulk Commodities businesses.

“My focus will continue to be on safe, responsible production and playing our role in our drive towards cleaner steel-making using our premium quality iron ore and met coal and working with partners on new steel making technologies,” he said.

As at the end of June Kumba has been ranked the second mining company in terms of market capitalisation after Anglo American Platinum on the strong iron ore price movements and its record financial performance.

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) SA Mine 2021 Survey released yesterday Kumba was the biggest contributor to revenue generation in the mining industry, with R50 billion of revenue in 2021 an 82 percent increase from 2020, followed by Exxaro Resources contributing R29bn up from 12 percent on 2020.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said Mkhwanazi would shape the strategy for the group’s global iron ore, metallurgical coal and manganese interests.

“The premium quality of our steel-making ingredients and the partnerships we will continue to build to develop cleaner steel-making technologies have never been more critical as we work to tackle climate change.

Mpumi’s extensive operational experience at De Beers will be instrumental as she builds on Kumba’s progress to drive sustained safe, world-class performance working closely with its strategic business partners,” Cutifani said.

Kumba delivered earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of R44.4bn, underpinned by higher realised iron ore prices and a focus on cost containment during the six months ended June 2021.

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