How A South African Geologist Built A Mining Business Worth Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

Biography & Success Story Of Desmond Sacco: Founder Of Assore
Biography & Success Story Of Desmond Sacco: Founder Of Assore

No matter what industry you’re operating in, honing your skills to excellent states and keeping a keen eye for opportunities you can apply them to can be the difference between success or failure. This has worked for millions of people through the beginning of time and will work for billions more.

This is the success story of Desmond Sacco, an individual who over time has made great use of the opportunities that presented themselves to him and built up a family investment, transforming it into one of the biggest players in the South African mining industry today.

See Also: How A Lawyer Built One Of South Africa’s Largest Banks

Here’s how they did it:


Early Life And Education Of Desmond Sacco

Desmond Sacco was born in 1941 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He had his secondary education at Pridion Michael House and upon completion proceeded to the University of Witwatersrand where he studied and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Geology/Geography.

Desmond later obtained a Master degree in Geology from the University of South Africa.

A man of many sides and talents, Desmond Sacco, in the course of his journey through the University, made a name for himself as a talented sportsman.

He got his Transvaal provincial colours for cricket and was later granted professional status to compete at the highest level in hockey and cricket.

In 2009 Desmond Sacco won a world championship in squash at the world championships held in Sydney, Australia.

Till date, Desmond is a sports enthusiast as he often engages in different sporting activities such as tennis, golf, and squash.

Known for his robust collection of solid minerals, Desmond has one of the largest mineral collections in Southern Africa which he showcases in his house, a member of the Geological Society of South Africa and a fellow of the Institute of Director, it can be rightly said that indeed Desmond Sacco is a force to reckon with in the South African mining sector


Journey To Entrepreneurship

Desmond Sacco’s journey began as far back as the early 1960s. During his university days, he began collecting solid minerals while still an undergraduate, and in 1964, he was offered a job at Beeshoek mine not far from Postmasburg in the Northern Cape province. And during his time at Beeshoek, Desmond visited the Black rock mine located in the Kalahari Manganese field 

See Also: How The Son Of a Former Governor Built A Billion Dollar Business



After leaving the University, Desmond Sacco joined Assore limited in 1968, a mining holding company established by his father in 1928. He worked with the company as a Geologist and for a better part of 1967/1968 was stationed in southern Zimbabwe and the Northern area of Limpopo, a province in South Africa.


Small Wins

After serving with Assore group for several years, Desmond was appointed a member of the Group’s Board of Directors in 1974, and upon the retirement of his father, Guido Sacco, in 1992, Desmond became the Chairman and Managing Director.

It was also a year of huge responsibilities for Desmond who was also appointed Deputy Chairman at Assmang Limited, a Subsidiary of Assore; a role, he served till 1999 when he rose to the position of Chairman.

See Also: How This Nigerian Entrepreneur Built A Business Worth Over $5 Million Dollars


Assore Limited

Incorporated in 1950, Assore has its shares listed on the JSE Securities exchange under the general mining sector. 

The group which is a mining holding company is principally engaged in businesses involving metals and base minerals. Assore is a group with numerous Subsidiaries with interests in mainly mining of Iron, Chrome Ores, Magnesium, as well as industrial minerals and also the production of Manganese Alloys.

The group has its major investment in Assmang Proprietary Limited, a company it co-owns with African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM).

Marketing is also one of the core responsibilities of Assore Limited as it is mainly responsible for marketing all Assmag and Assore products which are mostly exported and the remaining ones sold to the local market in South Africa.

Assore Limited also fully owns and co-owns several other companies like:

  • Dwarsrivier Chrome Mine Proprietary limited 
  • Ore and Metal Company Limited
  • Wonderstone Limited
  • Africa Mining and Trust Company limited.
  • Iron Ridge Resources Limited 
  • Ore Steel Investment Proprietary Limited  and a few others 

See Also: How A South African Farm Boy Built A Famous Multi-Billion Dollar Conglomerate With Operations In Nigeria, South Africa & Many Other Countries


Desmond Sacco’s Impact On Society

Asides bringing glory to his country, South Africa, in 2009 when he emerged world champion in his category in the world Squash championship in Australia, Desmond Sacco, through his Company Assore, has executed several philanthropic activities across South Africa over the years.

26.07% of Assore’s shares are controlled by two black Economic Empowerment Community Trust: The Fricker Road trust (11.79%) and The Boleng Trust (14.28%), and these funds are used to take care of many disadvantaged South Africans 

See Also: How The Son Of An Egyptian Construction Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Billion Dollar Fortune.


To Sum It Up

Like Desmond Sacco, start early. And even if you think you’re too old, start now. The sooner you find and turn what adds meaning and value to your life into a business, the sooner you’d be close to finding and building a successful business your future self would be proud of.


What are your thoughts on this success story of Desmond Sacco? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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