Debswana’s Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) asserts to have ticked all the boxes in the solicitation of government’s approval regarding the introduction of Scannex, the hi-tech security scanning machine.
“The process requires a lot work that involves many stakeholders engagement of which the company has done,” said Bakani Motlhabani, (OLDM)’s General Manager (GM).
Motlhabani confirmed that the company has done all that is necessary by following all the processes for regulatory approval, adding that they are yet to hear from the government authorities.
Scannex is said to be a low dosage x-ray machine through which employees will receive a maximum x-ray dosage of 1milli Sievert per year. The technology is said to be proven and well established with comprehensive safety and assurance programmes that have been in use in South Africa and Namibia for more than 20 years.
Over the years, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has raised serious objections to the introduction of Scannex machinery at Debswana operations, citing medical grounds. But the company insists that the new security project is the best deterrent to would be diamond smugglers.
Debswana is of the view that the current methods used are inefficient, as such not all stolen diamonds are presently being detected and recovered, hence the need to use Scannex machines to ensure that the country does not lose diamond revenues. The company believes that a single diamond-stone stolen is one too many, given the amount of money one stone is worth. Physical search methods that they currently use are not capable of detecting diamonds that are hidden within the human body, argues the company.
“Debswana has not ascertained the gene profile of its employees and has not come out clearly to outline what the company would do in the event that employees are affected by the accumulative effects of having been exposed. Our concerns far outweigh the economic reasons advanced by Debswana,” Jack Tlhagale, President of the BMWU previously said.
Meanwhile, total Debswana production for the first half of 2017 was up 6 percent to 11.1 million carats, compared with the first half of 2016. Production at Orapa increased by 22 percent to five million carats, driven by the ramp-up of Plant 1, following it having been on partial care and maintenance in response to trading conditions in late 2015, together with higher grades. This was marginally offset by Jwaneng, where production decreased by 6 percent to 5.9 million carats owing to lower grades.