With more than 20 years experience in the mining, logistics and energy industries, Ben remains an indomitable force to be reckoned with in Africa.
His smart initiatives and innovation in the mining industry has taken him up the world and saved him a spot amongst the world’s most successful business men.
Ben has been the Chief Executive Officer of Lonmin plc since July 2013. He served as an Executive Head of Engineering & Projects at Anglo American Platinum Limited from November 16, 2009 to April 26, 2013 and is the former CEO of Anglo Coal South Africa. Prior to these positions, he had worked as the chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal and the Eskom 2008 Coal Working Group.
Ben was born into a family of nine children in the rural part of Zimbabwe near Masvingo, where he grew into an amazing scholar. He often recalls the hurdles he faced during his school days. His school was located near a river and had no bridge, and so he and his friends would struggle to wade through every morning. The price they had to pay for education.
Despite all he faced, Ben progressed in his academic pursuit and went on to complete a degree in mining engineering at the University of Zimbabwe and joined Wankie Colliery, which was part of Anglo American Zimbabwe, at the time.
In his position as the CEO of Anglo Coal Ben was responsible for five of Anglo Coal’s 10 operating collieries. Three of the mines he managed were, New Vaal, New Denmark and Kriel – which were major suppliers of coal to Eskom power stations.
During his time at New Denmark, he ensured work safety and worked hard to create and maintain a HIV free workforce as well as a profound organisational culture change.
According to him; “Nothing is so important that it cannot be done safely. If it cannot, then we don’t want it.”
Asked how he plans to run New Denmark, he replies: “When I was appointed to the job I asked my bosses – Anglo Coal chairman Tony Redman and Anglo Coal CEO John Wallington – what they wanted me to do there. Their reply was, Go and be Ben Magara’. Those were wonderful words. I will never forget them.”
He desperately desired for New Denmark to be a happy mine, delivering quality products to happy customers.
His rationale is very clear; “You cannot be happy if you are injuring people, you cannot be happy if your product quality is not what the customers want and your production costs are too high.”
Since his arrival in New Denmark, things have taken a different but beautiful turn; especially with the welfare of the employees which was a matter the business expert took very seriously.
“I spent an hour every morning for the first two months just talking to staff and finding out what they wanted and what they were prepared to do. That was invaluable because through those interviews, I picked people I felt were important to the operation and who could influence others. From there we got buy-in from the entire workforce.”
Bennetor Magara also pioneered the creation of Anglo Inyosi Coal, a Black Economic Empowerment company, resulting in the installation of four new mines, including Isibonelo, Mafube, Zibulo and New Largo Collieries.
Now with his enormous wealth of experience, his term at Lomnin PLC promises to be transformational and extremely productive.
His broad experience includes life of mine planning, production, general management, project management, strategy and business development, restructuring, customer relations, exploration, finance, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and human resources.
He served as a Director of Anglo Zimele Empowerment Initiative Ltd. Co, and now as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at St Peters School Foundation. He is currently on the board of trustees of the UNISA foundation.
In addition to his engineering degree from the University of Zimbabwe, Ben has also taken courses in management in European and African Business Schools. He also did an Accelerated Development Program at the London Business School.
Bennetor Magara has remained a shining star in Africa. May he continue to soar unto higher heights.