Debswana Diamond Company and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) have partnered to strengthen their core missions of working together on future skills development and technology and innovation development.
The collaboration is through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and some of the key areas of collaboration identified are research and development, curriculum enrichment and human resource development.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Debswana Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo said that they are still face a shortage of critical skills. He added that consequently, they have re-introduced their much coveted Debswana Scholarship Programme as a way to partially address the gap. He stated that to date, they have 50 students across the globe studying in various technical fields that they require as a company.
“The MOU that we are signing with BIUST will complement our skills development efforts,” said Bonyongo.
He stated that through the Debswana technology strategy, a partnership model has been developed for collaboration with learning and research institutions in Botswana. He added that the main objective of the strategy is to develop local expertise, promote innovation and skills capacity to support the future technological needs of Debswana.
Bonyongo stated that based on their Resource Development Plan (RDP), Debswana reserves are projected to last beyond 2050. He added that this therefore comes with different requirements for mining methods, skills set and technology in order to increase productivity.
“This will offset an increase in mining costs while ensuring Debswana remains flexible enough to meet market demands,” he said.
Bonyongo further stated that it is the first MoU that Debswana signs with a University, adding that particularly significant to them at Debswana as one of the largest private sector employers in the country, particularly in the technical fields. He said the company employ 11 000 people, of which 5 000 are direct staff and the rest contractors.
BIUST Vice Chancellor Professor OtlogetsweTotolo said that both BIUST and Debswana intend to leapfrog othe country to a knowledge-based nation with products and services that make life better for the people and that contribute to the nation’s wealth and wellbeing.
He is of the view that their mutual desire to push the boundaries of research and innovation and application to their fullest lengths and to work tirelessly in ensuring that they achieve that what the people expect from both of them.
“We are also happy to note that the Government, which is our common principal, blesses this cooperation and in fact encourages it actively so that we can complement each other and avoid resources usage duplications,” said Totolo.
He further stated that through the MoU, they will be collaborating in the specific areas such as coarse tailings and fine residue tailings depositories, geochemical studies, Water and slurry/slimes testing, Mining Processes, Research on Activities of common interest and Metallurgical Processes.
“Both BIUST and Debswana intend to leapfrog our country to a knowledge-based nation with products and services that make life better for our people and that contribute to our nation’s wealth and wellbeing,” said Totolo.