Van Niekerk - Laboratory Management - Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Markus Van Niekerk

Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa


Laboratory Management


I am a qualified Chemist with many years’ practical experience, and management skills. I have been involved in the start up of 4 mine site Laboratories and have made a success of all these Laboratories to be effective laboratory service departments to the specific companies.
These Laboratories range from gold, platinum and base metal laboratories.
I have worked in South Africa, Tanzania, the DRC, Guinea and Namibia. My experiences cover 16 Laboratories over a period of 30 years. The last 15 years were all as head of Laboratories.

Work History

Join SMPSA as Analytical Manager


January 2013 - November 2013

• Responsible for all aspects of running the on-site Laboratory, doing sample analyses for all of the gold, silver and copper furnaces on site.
• Analyses include Sample Preparation of custom and exchange samples, Fire Assay, Wet Chemical, and Instrumentation including Gravimetric Electrolysis, AAS, MWP AES, XRF, ICP, Sulphur and Automatic Titrations.
• Working towards implementation of ISO 17025, OSHA 18001 and DPMT’s Integrated Management System (IMS).
• Oversee all projects during construction and implementation of new fire assay laboratory, sample preparation laboratory, water purification systems, installation of all new dust as well as fume extraction units, and new analytical instrumentation.

Analytical Laboratories Manager (Kolwezi - DRC)

Katanga Mining Services, Glencore, Switzerland, AG

• Responsible for all aspects of running the 3 Laboratories on site with a total staff complement of 85, doing over 100,000 samples per month. Laboratories include the concentrator laboratory, copper and cobalt refineries, and final product QC laboratory.
• Working towards the implementation of QMS and ISO 9001.
• Instrumentation included XRF, ICP, PSA, Spark Spectrograph, AAS, pH, ORP, and melting of copper and cobalt casts with an Induction furnace.
• Responsible for upgrade of laboratories in excess of three million USD.

Joined SGS in Guinea West Africa at Lero as Laboratory Manager


February 2009 - October 2010

• Responsible for all aspects of running the new Laboratory on site.
• All management systems are similar to those performed in SGS Tanzania, (see below).
• In addition, I did a short relief in Ahafo, Newmont mine site, Ghana.

Laboratory Manager (EAF)

Anvilmining - Kinsevere

• Working as EAF (Electric Arc Furnaces) Laboratory Manager for Anvilmining at Kinsevere in the DRC.
• Responsible for all aspects of running the Laboratory, including the Start-Up and immediate analyses of Copper Bearing Ore and Ingots.
• Setting up of new Laboratory for Base metal Analyses using Wet Chemical and ICP techniques on Copper ore, Lime, Slag and Ingot Samples. This includes all Method Developments, furnishing of the Laboratory with all necessary equipment for routine Base metal analyses.

Laboratory Manager (Bulyanhulu Gold Mine)


• Worked as Relief Manager for SGS-AAL on 4 Sites:
Sept ’04 – April ’07 : (A). Anglo Ashanti Limited owned Geita Gold Mining – (GGM).
(B). Barrick owned Kahama Mining Corporation Limited – (KMCL).
(C). Barrick owned Pangea Minerals Limited - Tulawaka Gold Mine (PML).
(D). Placerdome owned North Mara Gold Mine - (NM) Later owned by Barrick.

May ’07:
Appointed as Laboratory Manager at Bulyanhulu Gold Mine
• Responsible for all aspects of running the Laboratories, including:
• Management of Staff, Payroll, Petty Cash, HR, Leave, Medicals, etc.
• Management of Stock, using The Small Business Inventory Control (SBIC) system, as well as the client’s Pronto system.
• Management of transport for Staff, Mail, Stock to and from Australia as well as other Sites in the country.
• Management of Safety and Security within the specific Company Regulations.
• Management of Equipment Maintenance and Availability of Equipment.
• Management of Production, doing up to 800 Samples per day.
• Management of Reporting Systems, using: Cclas, Microsoft Windows Office, Messenger and Web Outlook. (Cclas Includes Dos And Windows Versions).
• Management of Quality Control Using DAADATA Software, Cclas and IRR.
• Management of Client Invoicing, Reporting and Head Office Reporting.
• Management of Client, Regional as well as Head Office Liaison.

Chief Chemist


• Heading the Kalgold Laboratory as Chief Chemist from Start-Up with six staff members, until a maximum complement of 40, and sample analysis peaking in excess of 20000 per month.
• Expansion of Laboratory facilities and equipment to optimise 24 Hour per day routine analyses of Pit, CIS and CIL Plant Samples.
• Introducing a daily Inter Laboratory QC Program with Anglo American Research Laboratories and approximately 12 other National and International Laboratories.
• Extensive research and development on Bottle Roll and Column Test analyses for both Heap Leach and CIL Samples.
• Evaluating and optimising of Plant Samplers and Sampling Procedures.
• Analysing of Bullion Samples within 99% Confidence Limit from results by Rand Refinery.
• Responsible for all Daily, Weekly, Monthly, as well as Annual Strategic Planning regarding Staff, Resources, Cost and all other aspects of the Open Pit and Metallurgical Plant Sample Analyses.
• Promote and control safe working conditions and practices amongst unskilled staff. Implementing the Company’s Unit 4 Documentation on Risk Assessment Management.
• Creating a working environment under harsh conditions to receive praise from National as well as International Laboratory Auditors in 1999.
• Control department cost over any six-month period within Strat-Plan.
• Reducing cost to Company by eliminating all overtime and shift work.
• Actively involved in daily Plant Production Meetings with all Senior Metallurgical and Engineering Staff.
• Part of a Management Team working towards a common goal of Gold Production, (Later as part of Harmony Gold Mining Company).

Potgietersrust Platinums Limited

March 1993 - December 1996

• Planning and initiating of actual first time assays.
• On-Hand experience on all aspects of sections including
 Assaying and Water Analysis by Wet Chem and a PC-22 Photometer
 Operation of a Varian Techtron SpectrAA 300 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer,
 Operation of a Spectroflame ICP
 Operation of a Philips Pw2400 XRF and Siemans XRD.
 Operation of a UV Visible Spectrometer
 Treatment of a large Water Softener Plant
 Performing Wet Chemical Analyses on Base Metals, including Cu, Ni, Co, S, Mn, Cr, Fe, Zn, etc.
 Application of ISO 9002 and S.A.B.S. 0259 Standard Code of Practice.
• Training of all staff for various sections (At RPM-R and PPL).
• Review of Employee Performance and Development Plans.
• Planning, organisation, co-ordination and managing sections in terms
of manpower, technically, and production.
• Control and update of all Methods and Standards of Analysis.
• Maintaining of Mine and Laboratory Security, Safety and Loss Control
• Constantly assuring a harmonious working environment (plus teamwork
within the Laboratory for all staff, as well as with other Departments).
• Control of realistic budgeting of costs (Equipment and Consumables).
• Control of availability and utilisation of all Laboratory resources.
• Timeously reporting of Quality Assured and Prioritised Results.
• Conflict Handling and Management of Change (Affirmative Action).
• Problem Solving, Decision-Making, Recommendations on day-to-day work.
• Daily communication with Laboratory Staff, Mine Staff and Outside
Consultants. Responsible for monthly and yearly plans regarding staff, equipment, etc.
• Delegation of Responsibility, Authority and Accountability to
subordinate personnel.
• Personal Development of a practical understanding of the PPL-Laboratory
Computer Systems and applications, including C-Class.
• An understanding of the Chemical and Physical Properties involved in
the Company's Mining and Metallurgical Operations.
• Obtained a “B” on the Gr

Asst. Chief Chemist for PPL (D2)


March 1992 - February 1993


March 1990 - February 1992

Transferred to R.E.G.M.

R.E.G.M. as Principal Chemist (D1)

Randfontein Estates Gold Mine - JCI

May 1987 - October 1987


November 1987 - February 1990

Chemist (D1)

Principal Chemist


January 1986 - April 1987


JCI-Mineral Processing Research Laboratory

July 1985 - December 1985

Transferred to M.P.R.L.
(JCI-Mineral Processing Research Laboratory) (C5)

Laboratory Technician


January 1984 - May 1984

Amandelbult Section (Near Thabazimbi)


June 1984 - June 1985

at Amandelbult Section (C5)

Westonaria Gold Mine

July 1983 - December 1983

Gold Mine - JCI)

Third Year at Technicon

January 1983 - June 1983

Lab Technician

Second Year at Technicon

January 1982 - June 1982

Studying plus gaining practical experience on a gold mine



July 1982 - December 1982

Gold Mine - JCI)

Learner Official

First Year at Technicon

January 1981 - June 1981

Studying, gaining experience on a platinum mine laboratory


Gold and Antimony

July 1981 - December 1981

Seconded to Consolidated Murchison (Gold and Antimony
Mine near Gravelotte)

Learner Official

P.F. Retief Laboratory

July 1980 - December 1980

Platinum Mines {R.P.M.})

Construction Operator

Petroleum Refinery

January 1978 - June 1978

Worked Temporarily at SASOL II (Construction on
Petroleum Refinery)

Jul '78 - Jun '80: Military Training - 7 SAI

Qualifications & Certifications

ND Analytical Chemistry

Witwatersrand Technicon

Riebeeck High

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