From different ends of the African continent, stories of triumph, highlights of unrelenting entrepreneurs, and remarkable achievements born out of a sheer tenacity of purpose has continued to light a fire in the hearts of people who look up to these figures; causing them to relentlessly forge ahead, even in the face of uncertainty, with the hopes of someday achieving their dreams.
This is the case of Patrice Motsepe, a South African mining magnate, who was born to a school teacher, rose to high ranks in a private organization, and eventually set out to exploit a golden opportunity erupting in the South African mining industry that only few could see at the time.
From his dad’s small foray into entrepreneurship, Patrice Motsepe got his first exposure to the business world and got his first understanding of the mining business.
He acquired this knowledge when helping his father sell liquor to mine workers always coming to their Spaza shop.
These group of men usually stormed his father’s shop every day to first buy and drink liquor before heading to the mines to work.
Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe went on to study and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Swaziland, then subsequently earned a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.
After saving up for many years, in 1997 when the price of Gold was falling, one of the largest mining companies in South Africa, AngloGold, was looking to sell some of their smaller, older, low-performing mine shafts, so they could focus on their larger and higher performing mines.
With this golden opportunity staring him in the face, Patrice Motsepe promptly founded the African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and proceeded to acquire one of the mine shafts that were up for sale by AngloGold.
In just three years after taking over the mines, Patrice Motsepe was able to fully repay the debt, which came as a complete shocker to almost every observer, as he had turned the mines’ operations around and made them profitable in just about 12 months after the takeover.
After this success, in the year 2000, Patrice Motsepe partnered with Anglo Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer. This partnership was a 50 – 50 ratio, and together, they created the largest platinum-producing mines in South Africa called Modikwa.
He further went on to partner with a South African gold producer called Harmony, in 2002, to acquire a certain number of shafts from Anglo. After the acquisition and commencement of operations on the shafts, they collectively went on to produce a total of 1 million troy ounces of platinum a year.
Conclusively, today his company has strategic partnerships and mergers with other mining organizations, and have added a wide list of minerals to their coffers like nickel, chrome, coal, iron, manganese and precious metals (platinum and its related products).
In the process, Patrice Motsepe has built one of the largest mining companies in not just Africa, but the world, with revenues totaling over $3 billion and employing over 12,000 people.