Employees in the mining sector are faced with a demanding work environment due to external challenges impacting on the organization. Optimizing their engagement is vital in weathering a demanding environment. The aim of this study was to (a) position authentic leadership (AL) and psychological empowerment (PE) as enablers of work engagement (WE); (b) to investigate the processes (i.e., PE) through which AL exerts its effect on WE, and (c) to determine whether contextual factors [i.e., role clarity (RC)] influenced this process. A cross-sectional research design was employed to collect data from 236 employees employed by a coal-mining organization within South Africa. The AL inventory, PE questionnaire, measures of role conflict and ambiguity questionnaire, and UWES-9 was administered to collect data. A moderated-mediation investigation was employed to test the hypotheses. Results supported the value of AL to enhance WE, both directly and indirectly via PE. Results also concluded that AL exerts its influence on WE through PE, regardless of employees’ levels of RC. AL literature is limited, not only in the South African context but also in the mining sector. The study not only extends AL literature by investigating its outcomes in a South African mining organization, but it also does so by investigating the boundary conditions under which AL exerts its influence. The boundaries (i.e., moderation) within which leadership-subordinate relationships (i.e. mediation) function are often neglected in favor of simplified investigations of mediation processes only.