Mining sector looks to diversifyexpand opportunities

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Mining sector looks to diversifyexpand opportunities
Mining sector looks to diversifyexpand opportunities

Africa-Press – Botswana. Botswana’s mining industry is promising with diamonds and copper playing a significant role in job creation and economic growth in the medium and long-term.

Officially opening the Future of Mining Summit in Gaborone yesterday, Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi said it was critical not only to diversify the economy, but also to diversify within the mining industry in order to end the over reliance on diamonds.

He noted that diamonds were not an infinite resource, and that it was everyone’s responsibility to establish companies within the mining sector that would compete globally and contend with the ever evolving industry challenges.

Minister Moagi also noted that government recently established three companies to enable citizens to buy shares in the mineral sector as well as be involved in mineral exploration and investment within Botswana and internationally.

He highlighted that government was committed to ensuring participation of citizens in the mining industry. “In the diamond industry, the new agreement with the De Beers Group is anchored on the greater participation of Botswana in the entire value chain,” he said.

He said through the Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP), Debswana and Morupule Coal Mine have committed to a socio-economic initiative aimed at driving citizen inclusion within their supply chain by supporting citizen entities and giving preferential procurement with the aim of creating employment and diversifying the economy. However, he acknowledged that Debswana would continue to anchor the economy in the short and medium term. “Debswana is investing in major projects like the Jwaneng Cut 9, Orapa Cut 3 and most importantly, the Jwaneng underground which will take Debswana mining life to 2050,” he said, adding that without underground mining Jwaneng would stop in 2034.

Minister Moagi applauded the signing of heads of terms between government and De Beers, saying it was a step in the right direction towards the conclusion of an agreement between the two partners.

“Through this partnership, which dates back to 1969, we have always ensured that we get an improved deal whenever the two parties engage in a bout of negotiations,” he said, adding that government went into the current negotiations with the goal of ensuring that the new agreement gave Botswana greater participation in the entire diamond value chain.

He noted that it was actualised through the new sales agreement and mining licenses which secured mining until 2054.

He said the new agreement would see the allocation of diamonds to Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) increasing from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of Debswana’s production.

Minister Moagi said the new deal would create opportunities for more local beneficiation and the branding of Botswana diamonds, adding that ODC was preparing for the increased allocation.

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