Saturday, February 27, 2021

Debswana’s CSI projects survive the odds against COVID-19

Although the implementation of Debswana’s Corporate SociaI Investment (CSI) projects in 2020 was affected by the challenges posed by the Covid -19 ripple effects, the diamond mining company was still able to successfully implement most of them.
This revelation was made by Debswana’s Corporate Affairs Manager (External) Agatha Sejoe (External) who was responding to questions from the Sunday Standard last week.


She explained that as an indicator, 90 percent of their annual P15 million CSI budget was utilized, relative to 97 percent expenditure in 2019. She said this performance is a clear demonstration of their commitment despite the prevailing challenges to delivery on their socio-economic development objectives. Sejoe said one of their flagship projects achieved in 2020 include the Letlhakane Maternity Wing which was completed and handed over at a time when congestion in hospitals needed urgent attention.
“Over and above our annual CSI budget, the Debswana Board approved an additional P10 million towards the Covid-19 response in support of our communities around the mines, as well as essential services workers across the country,” she said.


Additionally she said Debswana also trained and assisted the District Health Management Teams (DHMT) in its host communities, transformed some of its buildings into isolation centres, provided PPE’s for 24 clinics around host communities, availed ambulances and availed water among others. She said this led to their Covid-19 community response plan to be successfully executed.


Asked to give an update on Debswana’s Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mine’s(OLDM) decision to shut down its Orapa Number one Plant and place Damtshaa Mine under care and maintenance, Sejoe said there has been a fruitful consultation between the company and Botswana Miners Workers Union(BMWU) in that regard.
“The company and the Union subsequently embarked on consultations and ultimately entered into a mutual agreement that affected who desired to separate from the company to be invited to show interest and apply to be considered for voluntary separation. This process resulted in approximately 282 requests by employees being approved by the company,” she added.


For those employees who have been approved Sejoe said the period of exiting the company has been placed between December 2020 and 31 March 2021. She explained that all employees approved for separation will receive a Separation Package. She also said other employees from impacted areas have been placed in existing vacancies or vacancies created through the voluntary separation process across the business. Asked to give an update on some of their major projects at OLDM she said the Orapa Cut three Project is currently at Extended Pre-Feasibility – B stage.

She revealed that various mining sequences and production schedules are being explored with the objective of delivering the most optimal business case for implementation. Sejoe said it is Debswana’s vision that through the Cut 3 project, the company transforms Orapa to become a renewed source for further economic growth in the Boteti region.  Touching on the  FDR project aimed at building slimes dam to provide capacity for the life of the mine at Orapa, she said all of its elements were completed in 2020. The project began in 2017.


“The project included construction of four new slides dams measuring approximately one square kilometre , a De- grit plant and  a Transfer Pump Station. The new facilities will enable the separation, pumping and containment of fines residue material generated during the processing of diamndferous or well towards the end of mine life,” she said.

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