The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, said the contribution of past immediate Debswana Diamond Company Managing Director, Jim Gowans to the company’s success story will not go unnoticed as he spear-headed and saw through numerous initiatives that have cemented the diamond mining outfit as a global leader.
During his tenure, the company undertook a number of significant developmental projects that will sustain the current production at its mines for some years to come. One such project is the Jwaneng Cut 8 Project which will prolong the mine life.
“Jwaneng Cut 8 is a very important project for Debswana as it will extend the life of mine of Jwaneng Mine until another new cut is implemented to further increase the life of mine operations,” said Mokaila.
“Jim leaves behind a legacy of high performance, a legacy to be proud of. Jim has certainly made his mark over the past three years,” he said.
He also emphasised that of significance is that in 2011, adding that Gowans launched a three-year strategy to transform Debswana into “a cost and operationally efficient organisation” by delivering global benchmark performance across all production and support functions. He pointed out that the initiatives which drove Debswana towards this goal were consolidated into one programme called ‘Debswana 2013 and beyond’ a high performance organisation.
“I am reliably informed that significant strides have been made in the company’s transformation journey to a cost-efficient and agile mining house. Under his able leadership, Debswana delivered an Organisational Alignment exercise which reduced the management levels from ten to six, increased the spans of control, improved core to non-core ratio and consolidated the Corporate Centre into one building from the previous three,” said Mokaila.
He pointed out that through the Cost and Operational Efficiencies Project, Debswana recorded improvements across a range of productivity and efficiency key performance indicators, focusing on mining, treatment, and maintenance and supply chain.
Mokaila is of the view that safety is arguably the most important legacy one can leave and added that Gowans leaves behind the best safety record in the history of Debswana of two lost time injuries recorded in 2013. He said safety has always been a concern for Gowans and he has made that a core focus for the business and thus improving the safety statistics for all Debswana operations adding that ISO 14001 and 18001certification was maintained during his tenure.
“With the culture of ‘safety first’ inculcated within the company, Debswana is on course to Zero Harm,” he said. The newly appointed MD Balisi Bonyongo said the unique partnership between the government of Botswana and De Beers for it has turned, and continues to turn many diamond dreams into lasting reality.
He also appreciated the immediate past MD Gowans for the support and guidance he has given Debswana during his tenure.
“We have learnt a lot from you and will build on the foundation you have already laid. You have placed our company on course to a high performance organisation and it is my believe that we will continue on this journey of becoming a high performing organisation,” said Bonyongo.