The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) says the mining industry experienced a global commodity price downturn over most of the first two quarters of 2016,
However, according to the recent Ministry’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) executive report, diamond markets improved during the first quarter of 2016 and resulted in actual sales exceeding production due to sale of inventory from the year 2015.
The minerals revenue from dividends and royalties for 2016 increased by 63 percent as compared to 2015. The average percentage contribution of minerals to GDP during second quarter of 2016 was 21.8 percent compared to 18.4 percent in 2015.
A look into the mines, Debswana Diamond Company produced 20.9 million carats in 2016 compared to 20.4 million carats in 2015. The sales were 26.3 million carats compared to 14.7 million carats in 2015. The revenue from these sales was USD 3.9 billion and this compared favourably to USD 2.4 billion in 2015. The report states that for 2017 the diamond market outlook has improved with first quarter sales of diamonds showing a positive improvement.
“Boteti Mining Company produced 307 thousand carats in 2016 compared to 377 thousand carats in 2015. Boteti upgraded their processing plant, which enabled them to recover exceptionally large stones including the 1 111carat Lesedi La Rona. Despite the volatile diamond markets, Boteti mine continues to perform well,” reads the report.
On the Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, it produced 20.6 thousand carats in 2016. The report further states that the company suspended operation in March 2017 and placed the mine under Care and Maintenance citing low diamond prices.
It is stated that Lerala mine resumed production in April 2016 and has so far produced 58.5 thousand carats and made two sales.
“There are notable developments in the energy minerals sub-sector as companies continue to show interest in the energy minerals,” reads the report.
Contained in the report is that contribution of the diamond cutting and polishing industry was 2 212 or 11 percent adding that the closure of BCL and Tati Nickel mines resulted in 4 662 and 791 people losing jobs at BCL and Tati Nickel mines respectively.
The Ministry is of the view that it will continue to create an enabling environment in the minerals sector by formulation of new policies and legislation or strengthening existing ones to keep pace with current and future developments.
Stated in the report is that he draft National Energy Policy whose goal is to provide efficient, accessible, affordable and reliable energy services in the country was tabled in Parliament in July 2016. Added is that it is expected that the policy will be debated during the July 2017 Parliamentary sitting.