Africa’s mining sector is focused on sustainability, entrepreneurship, and contributing meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the continent. Local communities depend on these natural resources for their futures and this requires new ways of thinking, not to mention a new approach to ensuring diversity in the sector. One woman entrepreneur is leading the way - Tiguidanke Mounir Camara is the founder of the woman-mine owned TIGUI MINING GROUP (TMG) and is carving a new and exciting pathway for women in Africa’s mining sector.
LoA found out more about this trailblazing woman entrepreneur who is breaking down barriers and making a difference in this tough industry sector.
What does your company do?
Tigui Mining Group (TMG) is a mineral exploration company founded in 2012. TMG operates in West Africa and focuses on gold, diamond, and associated minerals. In Guinea, TMG’s subsidiary Camara Diamond & Gold Trading Network (CDGTN) has acquired a portfolio including gold and diamond assets totaling 356km2. Our licenses are located in the highly prospective regions of Siguiri (gold) and Kerouane-Macenta (diamonds). TMG has recently expanded in Côte d’Ivoire to start a gold prospection project in Odienné, the Northwestern part of the country.
"I grew up in Guinea, where mining is one of the most important sectors. I have always been interested in mining and grew up learning about it from a far."
What inspired you to start your company?
I grew up in Guinea, where mining is one of the most important sectors. I have always been interested in mining and grew up learning about it from a far. My interest was piqued when I was working in the fashion industry in the United States. I met jewellers whose stones were sourced from Africa. This fact made me think a lot about the importance of native involvement. I knew it was important for more Africans, more women, to be involved in leadership roles within the mining sector, so I got involved. I firmly believe that mineral resources are key to the economic development of our continent.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
TMG is a unique company. It represents the next generation of mining - we are a business that represents sustainable mining. The old way of mining that left locals in poverty and lands bare is over. Africa has the richest soils worldwide. It is time for mining to become a factor of growth, sustainability and empowerment for our communities. TMG is leading the way and ensuring profits do not come at the cost of communities’ well being.
"I knew it was important for more Africans, more women, to be involved in leadership roles within the mining sector, so I got involved. I firmly believe that mineral resources are key to the economic development of our continent."
Tell us a little about your team
TMG is the only woman-mine owned company in Guinea and one of the very few in Africa. TMG focuses on employing and training local talents. Currently, we employ nearly 50 people. We just recruited two women geologists. We strongly believe in diversity and empowering women.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I have always been very strong-willed. My father is a politician and my mother is an entrepreneur. My parents taught me and my siblings to be independent and to persevere. They made us work hard and go out to get things on our own. I am very thankful to them. As for me, I stand out in the mining industry because of my background in fashion. I started modelling at 14 years old, without at first the approval of my family. Later in life, modelling helped me earn a living when I was studying business management in Morocco. I moved to the United States in 1996 and my modelling career took off quickly. After the birth of my twins in 2001, I stopped modelling but remained in the world of fashion. I launched Foudis, a high-fashion clothing brand rooted in African traditions, and Danke a skincare line made of organic products. In early 2000s, I changed my career path and became a mining entrepreneur. It was not an easy shift but I surrounded myself with experts who served as mentors. I was dedicated to learning because I wanted to understand the opportunities and challenges of the sector. Through their mentorship, I learned invaluable skills such as negotiating licenses and building strong partnerships. I also participated in many forums. Finally, I spent a lot of time on the field; I wanted to understand mining from the local perspective.
"TMG is a unique company. It represents the next generation of mining - we are a business that represents sustainable mining."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My goal is for TMG to become a multinational and leading company in Africa, and worldwide. We plan to expand to other sectors such as agriculture, aviation, oil, and real estate. I want TMG to also be known for building up and benefiting the communities we work in.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur gives you freedom. There is deep satisfaction and pride in seeing your ideas become reality. These feelings increase when I see the positive impact TMG is having on the communities living near our mining concessions. For example, we started a program to develop agriculture opportunities for women as a way of helping them achieve economic and financial independence. I am a mother so I understand the struggles women face to take care of their families. I am honoured to be able to support other women’s growth.
"The old way of mining that left locals in poverty and lands bare is over. Africa has the richest soils worldwide. It is time for mining to become a factor of growth, sustainability and empowerment for our communities. TMG is leading the way and ensuring profits do not come at the cost of communities’ well being."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Start now. Do not postpone your dream to tomorrow, thinking that you are not experienced enough. The best is always to learn on the ground, and in mining more than anywhere else it is key to spend as much time as possible in the field. Surround yourself with experts, work hard and always remain professional. Most of all, never give up.
Contact or follow Tigui Mining Group
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA we love those trailblazing women entrepreneurs who take on traditionally tough, male dominated industry sectors and find new and innovative ways of doing things. Tiguidanke Mounir Camara, founder of the woman-mine owned TIGUI MINING GROUP (TMG), is an entrepreneur who is doing just that, entering the hard world of mining and forging a new and successful business empire on the African continent. She is building a sustainable business that is not only growing into new and exciting territories, but she is also providing socio-economic opportunities for the communities that live and work around her mining concession projects. She is a real Lioness of Africa. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa