Jwaneng Mine, my treasure trove

IRENE SHONE
Wednesday, 08 November 2017
Jwaneng Mine, my treasure trove

Travelling is one explicit adventure of life and they say experience is the best teacher. 

If you have ever heard of the word mine, where the economy of our country is concentrated but you have no idea what it may be, let me do my little understanding.

Like everyone else I have always heard of Debswana as well as Orapa and Jwaneng Mines. Then all of a sudden there was a joint venture of Majwe Mining in Jwaneng, which exposed me to the set up of a mine. 

I must say I was honoured to visit Jwaneng and get to see how a mine looks like because it has always been a theory that our grandparents tried to educate us about, as their workplace then. I boast of my Botswana because of what I have seen. Not every country has the beautiful quality diamonds like Botswana’s. 

Therefore I am proud of my journey to Jwaneng mine and it is a beautiful experience that deserves to be shared. By the way Jwaneng mine is the richest diamond mine in the world.

The day was absolutely exciting when we reached the induction room last week to learn more about what a mine is. Receiving the permit to get inside was yet another exultant moment of the trip. Talk about the security, yes our diamonds are that protected. 

The security at the mine is quite up tight in an impressing manner. Well I imagined a mine as just one large hollow place but I found it out to be different. First, I was shocked when I saw that big machine that its tyre alone is above my actual height of 1.69 meters high. 

I learnt that some of the machines known as dump trucks (930 E) are driven by women and it was hard to believe. Nonetheless, I also had an opportunity to get into the simulator where these dump machine drivers learn how to drive. It was an awesome experience, as I could visibly see the side views and the pit on the way and got to learn what and how the drivers need to do it.  If one fails using the simulator, they get disqualified for driving the dump truck because the mine’s first precaution is safety. “I was in a risky environment but at the same time a place where safety is always given first priority”.

I also learnt about the shovels and all the procedures followed at the mine as a work place. I would say it is a teamwork environment as the workers always communicate and give feedback for turnips of each team for the production of the day. 

Well, I expected to see some shiny stuff when I entered the mine because my excitement was to see a diamond for the first time. But in return I laughed my lungs out when one of the workers told me ‘a diamond is a precious stone that cannot be seen any day by anyone’. 

To my surprise, it meant that one could work in a mine for over 35 years without having an idea how a diamond looks like until they have spotted it in the mine or book for DTCB, where they are polished to see it. 

When they talk about eruption of rocks in the mine, they mean that those stones dug in search of diamonds are piled up. 

The rocks are dumped through the dump truck to clear the land, searching for diamonds and there is high possibility that they could fall anytime. 

Thus, everyone who enters the mine has to be dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) clothing that entails sungoggles, boots, high hat helmet and reflective overalls. This is meant for the safety of anyone in case anything happens in the mine.

The pit is one interesting place in the mine and it is the core of the mine as every useful resource comes from underground. This is where the stones are dug and where blasting takes place. When one looks from the surface the pit looks more like the small pictures that one often gets to see while using a flight.  That is mostly because of the small holes dug for the blasting function. The workers in this environment include Dump truck operators, Artisan electricians, Artisan mechanics, Auto mechanics, System Engineers, Wellness staff and maintenance staff to mention a few. Jwaneng is located in South Central Botswana about 120 Km west of Gaborone city in the Naledi River valley of the Kalahari. It is in the Southern District of Botswana however not part of this as it is a separate district with its own town council. 

The conservation park there also makes the place a lovely place to be. Thus, even the mine of Jwaneng still complements the tourism of Botswana as baboons and warthogs can be seen at a closer range within the mine. What an adventure I had in this small township!

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