Full Name: Temogo Itholeng
Position: Rock Engineer (Unisel and Joel, Welkom, Free-State)
Company/ Organisations: BLA Harmony
Date and Place of Birth: 1983 May 01
Education: BSc Hons Mining-Wits University
First Job: Leaner Miner Rustenburg Townlands shaft
Personal Best Achievement/s: Getting to sign that legal appointment you realise "this is it".
Philosophy of Life: "Surely it can't be that difficult"
Favourite Food/Drink: Some braaivleis and beer
Favourite Sport: Not really into sport, but enjoy some superbike racing
How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?
It began when I got a scholarship with Wits to do mining engineering in 2002, and 13 years later I am the appointed Rock Engineer at Joel and Unisel shafts.
Why did you choose Rock Engineering?
Actually unplanned and purley coincidental, Anglo-platinum was in a drive to recruit for their Rock Engineering Dept, ran by Dougall Fraser, they gave presentations at Wits as part of the drive and I attended one of those presentations and was interested since then.
Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?
Started off as a leaner miner at Townlands shaft as part of a requirement for the Mining Eng Degree, and realised soon enough I was not cut out for to be a "miner", following completion of my degree (under Rock engineering dept, ADC), started as a trainee in 2006 pursuing my SCO cert. Became SCO at Boschfontein and then moved to Free-State to work for BLA in 2008. Two years later I acquired COMREC in 2010, appointed Rock Eng at Target 3 shaft 2012 until its closure in 2014.
In your opinion, what are some of the challenges that the fraternity is currently facing?
Being in the operations and all the associated responsibilities we tend to lose touch with the technical side associated with the Engineering. We have become guards against DMR in our attempts to keep complying. Unlike Geotechnical consultants whom are only involved for a part of the project(design phase).
What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future of the rock engineering discipline?
As mines become depleted, commodity prices falling, mines getting deeper, difficult and more dangerous and DMR getting stricter we need to look at what can the Rock Engineers do to assist in the survival of the industry.
What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?
All I can say is "surely it can't be that difficult", butt on the chair type approach has worked for most people (committed studying).
Who is your role model/ mentor?
I think Deon Louw, particularly his laid back demeanour in times of heightened stress.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
If you are confident that you did what can possibly be expected of you, by your peers and critics then you don't have to worry.