As Debswana thrives on its core business of mining, Mpho Mosate is more than relishing the onerous task of ensuring sustainability of operations. KEITEBE KGOSIKEBATHO reports.
When her parents took up work in Orapa Mine in the seventies taking with them their little children, they didn’t realise that they were laying the foundation not only for their Mpho’s education but for her professional life as well. She is now working and giving back to the same company her parents had worked for. “Both of my parents worked for Debswana in Orapa back then and as a result we grew up benefiting from the advantages of the small town where most basic needs where subsided for employees and there was a great community and quality of life for a young family,” recalls Mosate. She did her early education in Orapa and upon completion of her secondary education enrolled for a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Botswana. She graduated in 1999 and immediately started her first job at a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs).
This was her first baptism of fire; having to work long and for free all in the name of gaining experience. “This is one thing I always encourage young people to do; taking up internships without looking for monetary compensation will only stand to benefit you in the end,” she says. Mosate would later pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Legal Studies at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom (UK) between 2004 and 2005. On her return she got a job with the UNDP as a Component Manager Environmental Governance. Her role involved providing support to the Department of Environmental on impact assessment, setting up an environmental fund and other policy matters. She joined Debswana in 2007. “I really never planned to work for Debswana and had no idea I will end up working here,” she says. But be that as it may Mosate says it is nonetheless great to be working for the company that has contributed so much to her upbringing.
The fact that Debswana is now giving her a chance to do what she is passionate about makes her feel she has ‘double benefitted’ from the company. She joined the company as an Environmental Coordinator at Jwaneng mine where some of her responsibilities included ensuring the sustained and successful implementation of the environment management system. She also had to prepare preliminary environment Impact Assessment for all projects and manage resource conservation and management by reporting on specific resource use such as energy and water. She was transferred on promotion to the Debswana Corporate Centre in Gaborone as an Environment Manager in 2012. Her responsibilities in this position included the provision of strategic environmental guidance, and assurance to the Debswana operations.
She has since 2014 been on a special assignment of coordinating Debswana’s sustainability strategy. To young ladies who may be looking up to women like Mosate, there are many opportunities in her line of work. “There is no leading company that does not have people looking out at sustainability,” she says. Mosate says one of her greatest values is family and she realises the importance of having a solid relationship with one’s parents, who as she says did so much for her many years ago when they joined Debswana Diamond Company. “At the stage where I am right now, it’s all about appreciation and giving back,” she says.