Bennetor Magara, better known as Ben Magara, is a South Africa based Zimbabwean business executive who has worked in the mining industry for the better part of his 29-year career. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Africa Metals and Mining Group (AMMG), a company which he founded in 2019.
Magara graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe in 1990. Soon after graduation, he took a three-year internship at the Hwange Colliery Company. The company is by far the largest coal mining, processing and marketing company in Zimbabwe.
After his internship at the Hwange Colliery Company, he moved to South Africa, right before the country’s 1994 election. He promptly started work at Anglo American, the multinational mining company in which he would spend and grow his career for the next two decades. Anglo American is a South African multinational mining company based in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, United Kingdom. Magara’s first posting within the company was in Standerton at New Denmark Colliery. He worked at Anglo American as a Supervisor to the General Manager of Operations until 2006.
He then became the Chief Executive Officer for Anglo Coal South Africa at Anglo Zimele Empowerment Initiative Ltd., a post which he held for about three and a half years.
After Anglo Coal South Africa, Magara became the Executive Head of Engineering and Capital Projects at Anglo American Platinum for almost four years between November 2009 and June 2013. Anglo American Platinum (like Anglo Coal was) is part of Anglo American and it also happens to be the world’s biggest producer of Platinum Group Metals (PGM).
It was after leaving Anglo American Platinum that he once again took the mantle of Chief Executive Officer when he joined Lonmin plc in July of 2013. Lonmin plc is a British mining company which also produces platinum group metals. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and its registered office is in London while its operational headquarters are in Johannesburg, South Africa. Magara took the helm at the company after it had gained international infamy in late 2012 when a confrontation between the police and its striking mining workers at Marikana ended in tragedy. During his tenure at the company, Magara restructured it, returned it to profitability and subsequently helped consolidated its assets with Sibanye-Stillwater.
After the six-year stint as the Chief Executive at Lonmin, Magara started his own company Africa Mining and Metals Group (AMMG) in mid-2019. AMMG is described as a diversified low-cost mining and metals enterprise operating across Africa. He is also a board member of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange-listed Grindrod, a freight and financial services company employing more than 4,700 people worldwide.
Magara is well known in the mining industry for the innovativeness of some his past initiatives which have covered safety, HIV and AIDS, as well as organisational culture change. He spearheaded the creation of Anglo Inyosi Coal, a black economic empowerment company which resulted in the development of four new mines namely Isibonelo, Mafube, Zibulo and New Largo Collieries. Mr Magara, who is said to speak seven languages, proudly describes himself as a turnaround enthusiast.
In the past, Magara’s other roles have included being Chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal (the largest coal export facility in Africa) and the Eskom 2008 Coal Working Group. He served as the Vice President of the South African Colliery Managers’ Association (SACMA) in 2004.
In addition to his Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in mining engineering from the University of Zimbabwe, Magara also completed an Accelerated Development Program (ADP) from the London Business School and an Advanced Management Program (AMP) from the Gordon Institute of Business Science.
Ben Magara attended Fletcher High School in Gweru for his Advanced Levels having done his Ordinary Levels at Macheke High.
In 2014 Forbes Magazine named Ben Magara one of the 10 most powerful men in Africa.