Grembo (Pty) Ltd Managing Director, Samuel Kealotswe, has called on the government to support citizen owned companies looking to invest in mining. Kealotswe said priority in awarding of mining related tenders should be given to citizen owned companies.
He says currently most companies in the local mining industry are foreign owned.
Grembo, a 100 percent citizen owned company, was recently awarded a prospecting license for precious stones in the Orapa area (kimberlite field).
“Grembo is happy to announce that the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources has given us a prospecting license for precious stones,” said a statement from the company.
“To be awarded such a license as a Motswana is a great achievement because it gives us an opportunity to actually own a diamond mine,” Kealotswe said, adding, “all this time licenses have been awarded to foreign owned companies.”
He said employing the services of consultants to assist compile a proposal does not come cheap. “We have had to spend in excess of 65 000 Pula just to prepare the proposal,” he said. “And remember, there was still no guarantee that we would eventually win the tender.”
Kealotswe said not many local companies are prepared to go to that extent because they stand to lose money should their proposal fail. Preparing a proposal is only the beginning, he says.
They had to spend over 100 000 Pula to have their financials audited in order to meet part of the tender requirements.
Kealotswe said since they were awarded the tender there has been a lot of positive feedback from investors looking to jump on the bandwagon.
The prospecting area lies in between the Orapa Diamond Mine and the Karowe Diamond Mine and it is 11.7 square kilometers.
The Orapa Kimberlite field is rich in diamond deposits and houses some of the well-known diamond mines in the world.
Kealotswe said they are happy to acquire the prospecting area and have the opportunity to develop the known kimberlites as well as searching for new ones within the area.
He said the known kimberlites in the area are diamondiferous.
The kimberlites found in the area are AK 8, AK9 and Ak16.
Ground geophysical surveys indicate that the Orapa AK8 kimberlite is around 5.1 hectares in size, while AK9 is around 2.5 hectares.
A prospecting license allows the licensee to prospect in a large area without competition for a period of usually three years. It gives the holder the exclusive rights to stake a mineral claim within that area. If one has completed the required work in the permit area, mineral claims may be staked after the first work period. Once the permit has expired or been relinquished, one cannot stake a claim in that area for a given period of time.
Excavation work done must be done in accordance with certain regulations stipulated in the license. The process involves drilling, stockpiling and banking of the mineral. Kealotswe says the government should make it cheaper for companies such as his to employ easier and cheaper methods of excavation.In addition to prospecting the MD says the have also applied for a diamond cutting and polishing license. “DTC is here and we don’t want to be left standing on the sidelines while other companies are taking advantage,” he says. Grembo operates in four different sectors that include security services, travel, cleaning, and diamonds. The MD says they have employed a total of more than 1000 staff.