Full Name: Buntu Bantu Tati

Position: Rock Engineering Officer

Company/Organisations: Impala Platinum

Date and Place of Birth: 29 June 1988

Education: Honorary BSc Mining Engineering degree

First Job: Mining Engineering in Training (Impala Platinum)

Personal Best Achievement/s: BSc Mining Engineering degree, Rock Breaker Qualification, Strata Control Qualification, Management Advance Programme Qualification, and of course, COM Rock Mechanics Ticket

Philosophy of Life: Never stop learning in life and always try to better yourself

Favourite Food/Drink: Beef lasagne and Castle-Lite

Favourite Sport: Basketball, Football, and Rugby

Never stop learning in life and always try to better yourself

1. How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?

My career began as a Mining Engineer in Training in Impala’s graduate streamline programme. I’m currently a Rock Engineer at one of the Impala operational shafts.

2. Why did you choose Rock Engineering?

I took a keen interest in the subject during my university studies. I was particularly fascinated by how people could be sent kilometres down into the ground with thousands of tonnes of rock above heads and they live to tell the tale. Who could be responsible for such a task?

3. Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?

Well, after completing my universities studies in 2010, I applied to Impala Platinum for a place in their graduate development programme. At the time, I was not aware that their Rock Engineering Department was looking for new graduates to take into their streamline. Having taken a keen interest in Rock Engineering and performing really well in it during my university studies, it became apparent to me that Rock Engineering would be a great place and opportunity for me to kick-start my career in the mining industry. After successfully completing their interview process, I began as a Mining Engineer in Training and worked my way towards obtaining my Rock Breaker certificate. 8 months into the programme, I obtained the Strata Control Certificate and worked as a Strata Control Officer on various shafts, gaining a lot of valuable experience. In November 2015 I then obtained my COM Rock Mechanics Ticket and I’ m currently a Rock Engineer at one of the Impala shafts.

Work hard, be focused and disciplined.

4. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges that the fraternity is currently facing?

The mining industry is in a major crisis, with commodity prices at an all-time low, lacklustre economic growth, and uncertainty in water and electricity supplies. This is will surely add pressure on mining houses to find innovative solutions to ensure safe, cost-effective production. Our function as a discipline will therefore be more heavily relied upon to come up with solutions to advance the industry beyond its current status.

5. What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future of the rock engineering discipline?

Research, research and more research and development. The mining industry has made a lot of progress in technological advances to ensure safe production; however, far too many people still continue to lose their lives. South Africa produces far too few (about 1/8th) scientists, researchers and PhDs, compared with our European and emerging nation counterparts who have far better safety stats. If were are to make meaningful contribution to solving safety-related problems, Rock Engineering Professionals in particular need to take their levels of expertise further.

6. What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?

Work hard, be focused and disciplined.

7. Who is your role model/mentor?

I look up to many individuals that I see as my role models and/or mentors. I believe people are different and offer different experiences, expertise and knowledge. I therefore rely on everyone who influences my life, as they play very important roles in shaping and moulding the person I am.

8. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Work hard and never give up. Set your mind towards something and you will achieve.