Securing a long-term future

The Legacy Continues

14 December 2021 | Infrastructure

Namdeb’s Long-Term Plan was formulated with the objective of developing a robust, recapitalised, profitable and sustainable business
solution to secure a long-term future and the continued operation of the Namdeb Southern Coastal Mine (SCM).
Various skills were incorporated to realise Namdeb’s Long-Term Plan (LTP), which supports the company’s vision of being the pride of Namibia’s mining to 2050 and beyond. Today we are featuring former Namdeb bursary holder Alastair Baumann, who is now the operations manager for Namdeb’s Southern Coastal Mines and who was a key contributor to the development of the LTP.

1. Tell us, who is Alastair Baumann?

I was born and raised in Narraville, Walvis Bay, and I am the eldest of four children. From very early in my life I was positively influenced by my parents, Sydney and Claudine, my siblings and the community of Narraville. My parents sacrificed immensely to ensure that we had access to the opportunities that contributed to us being able to achieve anything and that our only limit was our imagination. Growing up in the community of Narraville, I developed a strong sense of community.
We all had a strong sense of belonging because the community collectively raised you. It was not uncommon to have children from our neighbourhood being provided with lunch at our house one day and that being reciprocated at another friend’s house the next day. I excelled academically
and in senior secondary school started developing a love for cricket and rugby. My teachers at S.S De Duine saw leadership potential in me. I was nominated in grade 11 for a leadership bootcamp week in South Africa, and in matric became part of my school SRC. After school I was
fortunate to study in Cape Town, and after my second year started pursuing my studies in geology. At the end of my first year studying geology, I was privileged to be awarded a Namdeb bursary, where my relationship with this great company and town of Oranjemund began. This is also
where I met my wife Tanja for the firsttime. Today we have three beautiful kids - Jady, Aiden and Jemema, who fill me with
an enormous sense of pride.

2. What has been your career journey to date?

I began my career as graduate geologist responsible for production in Mining Area No. 1. My mentor the time, Desmond Olivier, taught me the finer intricacies of production and people management during my early years. Growing restless, I was afforded the opportunity to join the De Beers Africa Exploration group in Gabon for a short-term assignment in the Equatorial forests, which further shaped and polished my resilience. Upon my return to Namdeb, I became involved with the Pocket Beach production team, commissioning Site 2 at the end of 2003.
In 2005 I transferred to Debmarine Namibia as senior project geologist and left for the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor)
shortly thereafter in 2006. Along with my colleagues in the upstream department, I was responsible for promoting and
attracting petroleum investors to Namibia at events held all over the globe. After a four-year stint at Namcor, the South beckoned and back at Namdeb I became involved with starting up the Midwater project with my colleague and cousin Charlton August. In 2014, I was afforded
the opportunity to hone my project management and leadership skills when I was appointed project manager for the Inshore Project.
As Inshore Project manager I was accountable for the operation of the Probe Drilling Platform in water depths of up to four meters. The team was
notoriously difficult, and the project struggled to gain momentum for over a year. This was indeed my most memorable and humbling career experience and by the end of my stint with the project in early 2016, it was a flourishing and self-driven outfit. My next role as project manager for business improvement at Southern Coastal Mines focused on mapping and improving the metallurgical and mining processes at SCM. In 2018, I was afforded the opportunity to become the operations manager for Southern Coastal Mines.

3. What inspires you to work for Namdeb?

Without a doubt, I believe that people are Namdeb’s greatest asset. We have the most incredible, innovative people, who continue to show their resilience
and entrepreneurial spirit through very challenging times. Our people have been on the forefront of innovation through the successful execution of various
projects over the past ten (10) years. Furthermore, working at Namdeb gives me great satisfaction to be able to contribute towards building a legacy for this great country of ours.

4. Reflecting on Namdeb’s training and development legacy and in light of the business having invested in your development, how have you given back?

It gives me immense pride to be able to plough back and through the development that Namdeb has afforded me, I have been able to identify talent in Namibia through my involvement with various bursary selection and internship programmes. I have had the privilege to be a part of the development of some exceptional women, who are now champions of various initiatives such as WiMAN.
Throughout my career I have had the honour and continue to mentor and coach young professionals and watch them soar as they realise their full potential.

5. What are your reflections on the role that the SCM team played on positioning Namdeb’s new LTP?

At the start of the revised mine plan in 2018, our SCM management team, which is fully Namibianised, took stock of the mammoth mission ahead of us. To be able to sit back and reflect on a successful three years and the LTP achievement is one for the history books: an accomplishment we could not have done without the full commitment of the men and women of Southern Coastal. I salute every single one of them! I am extremely humbled by the people in our team, who took to the task like fish to water, and I have been very privileged to be associated with exemplary leaders such as Mr Damian Samaria, who inspired me and the rest of our team to greater heights.

6. Talk to us about innovation and technology related to the execution of this plan for SCM?

Innovations such as accretion have enabled us at Namdeb to create a sustainable future which benefits Namibia to 2042 and possibly beyond. Through
our Strategic Projects department, we are also operationalising our current mining methods with the surface mining
technology that is envisaged to accelerate our bedrock cleaning process in the near term.

7. Now that Namdeb has a new long-term plan, what would you consider as the skills required for SCM to ensure a successful delivery?

To stay ahead of the game we need energised, committed and innovative people in our midst. Our emphasis will be to focus on people and technology
development to take us forward in the ever changing environments, as we build and secure a long-term future for Namdeb and for Namibia.

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