Sunday, October 17, 2021

Debswana lives up to Dr Gale’s vision to transform Boteti Sub District

After taking over the reins as the General Manager at Debswana’s Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) in 2010, the late Dr Adrian Gale came up with the “Orapa Today, Boteti tomorrow” vision. This vision which was implemented in 2011 seeks to make Orapa a great place to live and build a sustainable economy for Boteti Sub District residents even post mining. ÔÇô WRITES OBUSITSE KOLOGWE

When Dr Adrian Gale an experienced Chemical Engineer from England assumed the role at the helm of OLDM as General Manager in 2010, among some of his top priorities was to take the needs of Boteti Sub District residents at heart and diversify the economy of the area.

Dr Gale came up with the vision “Orapa Today and Boteti Tomorrow”. This vision seeks to transform Boteti into a hub of economic activity even after mining elapses and benefit future generations in the region. Most will also remember the late Dr Gale for his extensive mining and metallurgical experience having worked for several mines around the world.

Among some of his notable achievements during his tenure at the helm of the mine, was when OLDM attained a best safety record in its history. Under his leadership, in 2012 OLDM launched a campaign dubbed “Quantum Series,” under the theme “My ECOHS, My Pride.” During that year, OLDM was rated amongst the best in the world in terms of safety. Dr Gale also restored cordial relations between the mine management and the union. Some of his successes include the vigorous Corporate Social Investment (CSI) under his lead which managed to contribute significantly to improving the lives of the people of Boteti Sub District. He also had a very successful CSI project through his Annual General Manager’s walk which raised funds to build among others houses for the needy and community projects. He retired to his home country of the United Kingdom(UK) in 2014. He passed away in 2015 .

To continue with his legacy, OLDM at the weekend opened a Diamond Museum and a Game Park extension in Orapa which is part of Dr Gale’s vision. The museum is intended to capture the diamond story and showcase anecdotes, artifacts of the critical period in the history of the nation for the benefit of future generations.

The Diamond Museum has been named after Dr Adrian Gale to honor his legacy. The extension of the Orapa Game Park is intended to conserve and promote biodiversity for the benefit of all during the life and post existence of the mine in addition to promoting tourism activity in Boteti District.

Welcoming guests during the commissioning of the projects, the Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said the company’s operations have over the years made significant contribution to the wellbeing of its employees, Botswana’s economic development, business development, increased fiscal revenues as well as infrastructure linkages.

He said Debswana is committed to building resilient communities and ensuring socio-economic sustainability beyond mining in the Boteti Sub District.

Giving a keynote address, President Khama who was the guest speaker at the event said the opening of the first diamond museum in Botswana marks an opportune moment to capture and consolidate the significant and milestone for the mine and the country. He said it is worthy to note that diamonds were discovered at Orapa in 1967 and their contribution to developing the country for the past 51 years. He said the establishment of the Museum and extension of a Game Park will help tell the story of Debswana and the country

“The formation of Debeers Botswana Mining Company in 1969 now known as Debswana was dedicated to unlocking the value of Botswana’s precious natural resource and creating sustainable value to improve the lives of Batswana,” said President Khama.

He said creating sustainable value to improve the lives of Batswana through this precious resource also means creating an appreciation for the country’s diamonds and the diamond industry which is what the museum seeks to achieve. The President also said the museum is also a legacy for future generations. He said it is important to note that diamonds transformed Botswana from one of the poorest countries at independence to a middle income economy.

“In particular I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding relationship between Botswana and Debeers. This is a relationship that has been hailed internationally as a leading example of a successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) and continues to endure,” he said.

The layout and design of the museum consists of museum display rooms which reflect processing and mining product, curip, coffee shop, storage area, visitors lounge as well as indoor and outdoor display areas. The extension of the Orapa game Park which was also launched aims to use diamond mining as a catalyst for future tourism activity in Boteti Sub District and also serve as a sanctuary for endangered species.

The park currently boasts of a large variety of species including a population of white rhinos.

The P14.2 million expanded game park and Diamond Museum tourist package is complimented by the development of the Makgadikgadi Heritage Trail Map, which includes access roads and signage to Kaitshe escarpment, Makgaba Fossils, Mmakgama Ruins, Mokgalo wa Kgama and Mosu Escarpment. A south Sua Mini trail is being developed from Kaitshe via Kokonje Island to Sowa. Another mini trail, Ntwetwe pan will be developed for bird and game viewing.

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