Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi will next week tour the mining town of Selebi-Phikwe to obtain first hand information and familiarize themselves with Government efforts over the diversification process away from the mining sector in the region.
The copper mining town of Selebi-Phikwe was initially expected to close operations because of unreliable and dwindling deposits of copper and nickel.
“We will next week tour the SPEDU area on a familiarisations tour. We all know how important the area is for the economy of the country and for the job creation of the population,” Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Chairprson Puso Gaborone reminded his traditional colleagues on Monday at the opening summer session.
A diversification effort, Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU),a brainchild of Botswana Government overwhelmed by the anticipated layoffs in the region occasioned by the closure of the copper and nickel mine.
SPEDU is intended to avert the disaster and diversify the region economy away from the mining.
A long time survival of Selebi-Phikwe mining town feared to become a ghost town and surrounding regions beyond the closure of the BCL mine and smelter, SPEDU was initiated to bring about sustainable new employment and investment to the region and hence broaden and underpin its economic and social base.
As the advisory body of Government, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi is expected to put inputs as a stakeholder for the possible diversification industries such as Tourism and Leisure, Agriculture, and Heavy Engineering undertaken.
“We will visit Letsibogo and Dikgatlhong dams,” Gaborone added.
While Letsibogo is envisaged to become a stopover destination for travelers enroute to the wildlife parks and accommodation for day trips to surrounding attractions, Dikgatlhong dam offers the opportunity to extend the route to the Northern areas via Selebi-Phikwe past Letsibogo dam and onwards to Francistown.
Non-core assets owned by BCL provide a strategic business units to enhance the industrial potential of the region and thus benefit the residents threatened by looming unemployment.
As for the horticulture, the region has the potential to become a bread basket of the country as result of abundant water and fertile soil resource.
Projects such as washing, sorting and packaging plant as well as processing plant for vegetables are touted for the area including tomato sauce production and related products.