The Government has said that it is yet to determine the capital cost for the impending expansion of the Debswana Diamond Orapa Mine Orapa. The project, known as Cut 2, is said to be still in pre-feasibility study stage.
The Minister responsible for minerals, Sadique Kebonang said this week that the scope of the project includes pit expansion which will require relocation of buildings, services, and waste rock stockpiles. He added that it also includes other facilities in the mining areas, social infrastructure and other services in the township.
Kebonang confirmed that Debswana’s long term Resource Development Plan indicates that mining activity at Orapa Cut 2 will be concluded by 2030 hence the need for plans and studies for the next expansion phase of the mine.
“At this stage of the project, it is too early to determine any employment numbers. Debswana has a Citizen Empowerment Policy that ensures procurement of goods and services from citizen owned companies,” he stated.
Kebonang was responding to questions in Parliament asked by Member for Parliament (MP) for Boteti East Setlhomo Lelatisitswe, who asked Minister if it is true that Debswana Operations in Orapa envisage expansion of the Orapa pit in the near future.
Lelatisitswe further asked the estimated number of people who will be employed in the initial phase and also opportunities that exist within the project for local companies and what Debswana or government is doing to get Batswana companies ready for that project.
In his response, Kebonang assured Parliament that there is an approved list of goods and services that are reserved to local citizen companies for procurement. Kebonang added that Debswana’s contracting model also ensures that Batswana companies benefit via various strategies such as joint ventures, partnerships and skills transfer.
“Debswana in partnership with De Beers and the government of Botswana have set up an enterprise development programme called Tokafala to up-skill and mentor local SMME companies including those doing business with Debswana,” he said.