Lucara Mine Botswana Managing Director, Naseem Lahri said they intend to extend their mine lifespan from 2026 to 2045 as the climate change in Botswana continues to inspire them to expand their presence in the country.
The company has rebranded its Boteti Mine to Lucara. Lahri said the rebranding exercise is to point out that they are increasing their investment in the country by extending the Lucara footprint locally and taking the mining activities beyond Boteti region where they have been operating Karowe mine. “Our extended operations in Botswana mean increased revenue for the country, continued employment and development of our beautiful country,” said Lahri.
She said expansion activities will result in increased employment and upskilling of Batswana and increase activity within the economy. “Our Diamond sales activities take place in Gaborone and we have ambitions to open more mining assets as we continue to scour the land for more diamondfinds,” pointed Lahri.
Lahri also highlighted that the mine had over the past two years yielded the 1109 carat Lesedi La Rona, the second largest gem quality diamond ever, which was sold for US $53 813 and the US $63.1 million Constellation diamond which set a record for the rough gem. “As we rebrand, we intend to expand our footprint to the rest of the country, employing Batswana and imparting skills for the attainment of the National Vision 2036 and beyond,” said Lahri.
On his part, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane commended Lucara Botswana for being actively engaged in financing projects aimed at empowering the Boteti community. “I can confirm that the relationship that exists between Boteti residents and Lucara Botswana is indeed a solid one.It is characterized by amicable consultation, regional development and oneness.
The unity between Boteti residents and Lucara Botswana is made even more evident as the region has allowed Boteti Mining to carry the name of the beloved diamond area for the past six years since its inception,” said Tsogwane.Tsogwane also said government welcomes mining initiatives and will continue to support organisations like Lucara Botswana for ploughing back into communities, especially in the drive to improve people’s livelihoods.
Government has granted Minergy Mining licence for its Masama Coal project in Kweneng District, despite red tape that has delayed the process.
The latest paves way for the coal explorer to commercialise its assets, becoming the second operating coal mine after Morupule Coal Mine which is partly owned by Botswana government. The BSE listed company announced to shareholders this week that the granting of the mining licence follows the completion of a feasibility study and the authorisation of the environmental impact statement (EIS) by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Up-beat about the development Minergy Chief Executive Officer, Andre Boje said the mine will start with 1.2 million tonnes per annum of saleable coal, which the miner intends to double to 2.4 million tonnes per annum depending on the market conditions.
“We are moving forward with production and are set to start mining in January,” said Boje.
He further highlighted that the mine will employ between 400 and 450 employees on site, as production kicks off in January 2019, and possible increase by 200 when production ramps up. In June, Minergy had challenged governments departments to adhere to regulatory timeframes stating that accelerated regulatory timeframes will allow Botswana to expeditiously utilise the country’s over 200 billion tonnes of coal resource.
He further challenged government to reduce company tax to 15 percent for coal exporting companies from 22 percent, as it is done for coal producers supplying power generation. Minergy is on record saying it wants to fast-track its production to meet the growing gap of supply and demand in the coal mining industry.
Adding his sentiment on the development, a delighted Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa hailed the development as the start of good things for the coal industry.“We can now have a coal industry,” said Siwawa highlighting that the development is bound to excite other miners.
He however implored miners to embrace new technology that does not release a lot of gases into the air during mining.Siwawa said mining without harming the environment supports Botswana’s sustainability efforts. Meanwhile, pre-mining construction work has already begun on site at the Masama Coal Project, allowing Minergy to have the final mine commissioned in January 2019.
According to Minergy, the miner is now able to break ground and invite contractors to start work immediately as well as to actively engage the local communities about job creation and several upliftment programmes, including improving the school and the clinic in the village closest to the mine, Medie in Kweneng district, as well as bringing in electricity.