Debswana’s(OLDM) Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines Cut 3 project waste stripping is anticipated to start in 2027 as per the study by the mining company’s Resource Development Plan(RDP). This was revealed by Debswana Corporate Affairs Manager (External) Agatha Sejoe when responding to the Sunday Standard questions last week.
“Cut 3 project is still at the prefeasibility study phase and its timing for commencement of mining is determined by the Debswana Resource Development Plan. The 2021 update of the Debswana RDP determined that the recommended commencement of Cut 3 waste stripping is 2027,” she said.
Debswana has since announced its plans to begin Cut 3 Project in an effort to prolong Debswana’s mine life beyond 2050. The project is expected to bring along employment and business opportunities for the people of Boteti Sub District. OLDM directly employs 2604 workers and 3161 through its business partners.
Asked to give an update on the Orapa Today and Boteti Tomorrow(OTBT) initiative which was started by OLDM to empower the people of Boteti Sub District post-mining activity, Sejoe said significant progress has been made in that regard. As part of the initiative, Debswana has come up with a plan to diversify the economy of Boteti Sub District from mining in alignment with the mine closure socio-economic plan. According to Sejoe, Debswana identified the development and expansion of the Orapa Game Park, establishment of a Business Park, development of a Mining Museum and a technical college as the four major components of the OTBT initiative.
“A new access road into Orapa is being developed and anticipated to be complete in June 2022. The project will achieve two objectives being; future Town transformation plans of opening of the town in near the future and easy access to the airport and Game Park for tourists. This development will also divert traffic away from the current East Gate access to pave way for planned rehabilitation works of the closed slurry dams,” she added.
Sejoe also said that as part of the progress of OTBT, they have a fully fledged Adrian Gale Diamond Museum which is open to members of the public. The museum was named after the former General Manager of OLDM Dr Adrian Gale (2010-2016) who was the pioneer of the OTBT initiative. She revealed that entry fees collection into the museum started in July 2021 and the revenue is allocated to new established Community Trust Fund which will be used by communities for socio-economic development initiatives.
“We also have Orapa Game Park which was completed in February 2018, taking the original area from 10, 800 hactres to over 45 000 hactres making it the eighth largest in Botswana after Nxai Pan National Park. Similar to the Museum, entry fees collection started in July 2021 and the revenue is allocated to the Community Trust Fund,” she said.
She said OLDM envisages establishing a Community Benefit Fund to assist communities within its Zone of Influence in anticipation of future Mine Closure. She explained that the Community benefit fund will enable OLDM to have a vehicle that will deliver benefits to communities through the planned Transformation Strategy and Community projects. Sejoe said while funds from different mine facilities and activities will operate separately within the frame work, these funds will be pooled together to benefit a larger investment within the communities. She further said the community projects will be assessed for their potential to deliver OLDM’s key policies centred on long lasting memory, community empowerment and sustainability.
“The funds will be used to address the most critical needs of our community in the areas of tourism, commercial livestock farming, Housing for the destitute, Development of Livestock Disease Drift Fence, Education, Legacy Diamond Mining Museum, Health, Community Trust Projects and Development of Industry Factory Shells,” she said.
Sejoe said currently, a due diligence exercise is ongoing on the establishment of a sustainable Boteti Community Trust. The project is expected to take eight months from inception.