Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Botswana’s mineral revenue declines

Botswana’s mineral revenue in 2019/20 declined to P8.7 billion from P13.3 billion in 2018/19.

The mining industry however continues to grow despite the volatility of commodity prices. 

Rather predictably, the diamond market has been sluggish on account of the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing before Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Mmetla Masire told the committee that the ministry will continue to create an enabling environment in the minerals sector.

He said this will be achieved by formulating new policies and legislation to strengthen existing ones and keep pace with current and future developments. 

He added that this will enable stakeholders to effectively play their roles in the development of this economy.

“Debswana Diamond Company produced 23.3 million carats in 2019 compared to 24.0 carats in 2018. Sales were 22.0 million carats compared to 23.5 million carats in 2018. Revenue from these sales was USD 2.7 billion and this is slightly lower than USD 3.3 billion realised in 2018,” he stated.

Masire said in May 2019, De Beers and the Botswana government started renegotiations of Sales Agreement, with the current one expiring in 2020, as well as a Master Agreement, which expires in 2029. The negotiations are ongoing and it is anticipated that they will be concluded during 2020.

He spoke about Jwaneng Mine Cut-9 Project, which he said, will extend the life of the mine from the year 2028 to 2035. He said the project is envisaged to employ 1,153 people in total, of which 1,131 (93 percent) will be citizens Cut (project has 501 employees, 97 percent of them are citizens. 

On the Orapa Mine Cut 3, he said the project will extend the life of the mine from the year 2031 to 2046. He said the project is currently extended pre-feasibility stage adding that various mining sequences and that production schedules are being explored with the mining sequences and production schedules are being explored with the objective of delivering the most optimal business case for implementation.

“Letlhakane mine tailings treatment project started in 2016. The company is doing a feasibility study to evaluate options of going underground. Pre-feasibility studies are anticipated to be completed by December 2021,” said Masire.

On the Boteti Mining Company, he said produced it 433 thousand carats in 2019 compared to 365 thousand carats in 2018. He said Boteti has completed a feasibility study that will extend the mine life from the year 2023 to 2041. 

He observed that the company continues to recover exceptionally large diamonds with Sewelo at 1,758 carats in 2019 and an unnamed 549 carats diamond recovered in 2020. Despite the volatile diamond markets, Boteti mine continues to perform well.

“Mowana Mine is still under judicial management. There have been notable developments in the energy minerals sub-sector as companies continue to show interest in the energy minerals,” said Masire.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.