Meet the Team: Benny Chisonga

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Meet Benny – He joined Datamine over 10 years ago as a Resource Geologist and is now the General Manager at Datamine Africa! Get to know him a little better through the interview below:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a geologist at heart, Zambian born; educated there and in South Africa. I started out as a Resource Geologist at Datamine but these days I manage the Datamine business in Africa. I have been with Datamine for 10 years, having joined from Snowden. Snowden is close to my heart because it was while I was there that they sent me and a couple of other colleagues to Datamine to get trained in Studio 3. These days Snowden is part of Datamine and it is fun to work with some familiar faces.

What is it like to work at Datamine?

It might sound cliche, but Datamine is the place where I have grown the most. When I started out as a technical professional little did I know that I would end up on the business side. In my previous life in Academia, I would regularly use jargon such as petrography, metallogenesis and Paleoproterozoic mineralization. At Snowden and Datamine, as a Resource geologist, I regularly dined on variography, Sequential Gaussian Simulation, Resource Modelling and Evaluation. These days, I am more comfortable with a different set of jargon – P & L, Organic Growth, EBITA and IRR. This is what I like about Datamine, the opportunity to do and learn different parts of the business.

What inspired your career in this industry?

I am an accidental geologist. I grew up on the Copperbelt Province in Zambia, and found Mining attractive from a young age. I wanted to do Mining Engineering. Only later in life did I find that I wasn’t cut out for the precision of Engineering. Since I am a big-picture kind of person, Geology was a good fit for me, and I haven’t looked back ever since. Even though I do not practice that aspect of geology, like most geologists I look at a rock with more than a passing interest. And I hate it when people call it a “stone”

What are some of the challenges you help your clients navigate during consulting sessions?
/ What are some of the challenges in your role?

I have found that managing people and a business is different from managing materials. It is not a passive exercise but an exciting one with an equal measure of challenges and joys.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your role / the work you do?

I enjoy seeing people succeed. I enjoy seeing good results, especially from team efforts. I enjoy making time to speak to the team and frequently knock off from work with a smile on my face because we delivered to a client, or we completed a project on time. Sometimes things don’t always go well, but I get comfort in knowing we did our best. All I want is incremental progress, not perfection.

What are your best memories from your career?

I have enjoyed being a geologist. Especially the bit where someone comes to you and asks the name of this “stone”! Because all geologists know all stones, right? When I worked at the Geological Survey in Zambia, it was always fun to tell people that we do not have stones in geology; go and ask the Gemologists in Room 4 about stones!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I am an extroverted introvert. I like to tell stories, often humorous but with some practical life lessons. When I was younger I preferred reading to sports. These days I look for opportunities to be active and have taken to hiking with my family. I play recreational chess and make the best pizza in my family!

Connect with Benny on LinkedIn here. For more information or to connect with our team, make sure to send us an enquiry.

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