Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The resurrection of Lerala Mine

As Christian religion denominations across the globe prepares for commemoration of the crucifixion and ultimate resurrection of Jesus Christ –  their lord and savior in the next few weeks, dwellers of a tiny Tswapong region village – Lerala are also hoping for the resurrection of what could, by now, have been their village’s main source of live – the diamond mine. 

The Lerala Mine shut down its operations over two years ago but signs are that it is likely to re-open if sentiments made by minister responsible for minerals – Lefoko Moagi is anything to go by. 

The process to liquidate the Lerala mine started as far as June 2017 owing to financial constraints as well as operational inefficiencies. Fast forward to 2020, it has since emerged that the liquidator -Kopanang Thekiso, is searching for investors to acquire the mine. 

Moagi told Parliament this week that some investors have shown interest to acquire Lerala mine. He was responding to a question by Kanye South Member of Parliament – Thapelo Letsholo who wanted an update on the status of the mine and its assets. 

Moagi disclosed to Parliament that, “a local company Maroon Capital (Pty) Ltd, is shortlisted by the liquidator as the preferred bidder to acquire Lerala Mine. The company is currently working on modalities of acquiring the Mining License.”  

As things stand, the mine assets have been maintained as much as possible where financial resources permit. So far, only one case of cable theft was reported from the mine since closure. 

The Mine’s closure in June 2017 was the third time in its history that, having shut down in February 2009 and July 2012.

It was previously owned by an Australian company, Kimberly Diamonds at the time of closure, leaving 150 permanent employees and 40 casual workers stranded. 

Kimberly had targeted an annual output of 360,000 carats from Lerala over seven years.

The mine is reported to have five million tonnes of probable reserves at a grade of 31 carats per 100tonnes. Lerala creditors owed P300million (U$30million) which included shareholder companies, mining contractors and workers. 

The 2018 auction included mining rights and water rights, five kimberlite pipes ranging from 0.16 hectares to 2.35 hectares in the area, a 200 metric tonnes per hour processing plant and a 4.2-megawatt diesel generator, among other assets.

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