The mining sector is one of the toughest in which to build a business from scratch, and perhaps not an obvious choice for many. But for South African entrepreneur, Shirley Hayes, it is a sector in which she is making her mark with her SHiP Copper Company.
LoA chatted to the inspirational Shirley Hayes to find out more about her unique entrepreneurial journey in a tough industry sector.
What does your company do?
SHiP is an Exploration and Mining Company.
What inspired you to start your company?
It was the only opportunity I saw in front of me. I guess I am the "desperate entrepreneur”.
"I started my mining career and entrepreneurial journey with nothing, and by that I wish to inspire other women like me."
Why should anyone use your service or product?
As a mining company, I do not have a service or product per se. But I started my mining career and entrepreneurial journey with nothing, and by that I wish to inspire other women like me.
Tell us a little about your team
I surround myself with the best. It is not my job to be a geologist, a lawyer, accountant or a mining engineer. It is my job to listen, consider, and make a decision that takes everything into account for the best possible path for my company.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I am a qualified miner with a keen eye for copper and the founder and CEO of SHiP. Having run my own quarrying business for several years, I have extensive experience of surface mining and blasting. After starting out in the mining sector in 1997 as an admin clerk at the former Kelgran Africa Desert Rose granite quarry (near my hometown of Pofadder), I qualified as a magazine master, acquired a temporary blasting certificate in 1998 and qualified as a miner in 2001.
Following retrenchments at the quarry, I turned my attention to alternative revenue-generating opportunities. With a second-hand bakkie and an old John Deere front-end loader at my disposal, I worked on feldspar recovery from old mine dumps. The revenues from this eventually allowed me to set-up a few Feldspar mines. I later shifted my focus to other minerals, before fully turning my attention to copper. Some of my employees I worked with on feldspar mining back then are still partners in SHiP today.
After identifying the Northern Cape Province as a major copper exploration area, I invested my own capital to develop the Concordia tenement, covering 36 000 hectares of the most prospective copper targets in the area. I applied for the exploration rights at Concordia in July 2008 and it was granted in 2009. Today, my focus is on continuing to build SHiP’s vision of developing the Northern Cape Province into one of the largest copper-producing districts in the world, while making sure SHiP delivers value to owners and investors and gives back to the communities it serves.
"Redefining a new era of copper mining in South Africa, SHiP is a majority women-owned copper mining and development company based in the Northern Cape Province (South Africa)."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Redefining a new era of copper mining in South Africa, SHiP is a majority women-owned copper mining and development company based in the Northern Cape Province (South Africa). We believe in actualizing mining projects that are high grade, low cost and have significant margin. Our agile size and shared infrastructure allow us to successfully develop and unlock prospective deposits in a prolific copper-rich region.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to make my own path.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Realize your strength. Never play the victim card - the world owes you nothing. You and you alone will determine your path.
Contact or follow SHiP Copper Company
Why LoA loves it….
There is something truly remarkable about those women in Africa who forge an entrepreneurial path for themselves starting out with nothing and creating an impactful legacy business. Not only did Shirley Hayes build a business in one of the toughest industry sectors on the planet - mining - she is also making a real impact in the community and the country she calls home. She is a real inspiration to other women who aspire to make their mark in the world of mining. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa