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Botswana Chamber of Mines lures local investors into mining

Publishing Date : 17 September, 2019

Author : LAWRENCE PAGANGA

The Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) has embarked on a robust project where citizens are being lured to venture into the lucrative mining industry, a sector, which has for years has been a preserve for only well-resourced foreigners.


A number of exploration projects for different minerals are currently underway across the country as foreign investors hunt for lucrative deposits due to the Government’s favourable business requirements for investors and the discovery of new mineral deposits. The new mining ventures have driven, BMC, a national mining advocacy board, to encourage citizens to grab the opportunities and engage in various productive mining ventures that have been made available in the country.


“BCM is aggressively looking for foreign and local investors and to get citizens to participate in mining,” the BCM chief executive Charles Siwawa told delegates attending a conference the Electra Mining Botswana and A-Osh Expo at Fairgrounds in Gaborone this week. The BCM CEO said local investors should embrace the new mining opportunities available in the country and in the process complement government’s efforts in creating jobs.


“We don’t impose or prescribe to foreign investors, which local people they should partner with, but we are providing guidance to citizens when they are negotiating partnership contracts with foreign investors in mining ventures. “We are also encouraging citizens to sharpen their negotiation skills especially on shareholder structures.  Your aim should be; ‘I want to be involved in this process so that I get my return’.  You need to carry out robust feasibility studies before you open a mine.  The mining industry is very risky but profitable,” Siwawa told the delegates who topic was on; ‘Botswana Mining Industry’.


The CEO also raised concerns over the high number of people who had applied and granted exploration licences with the Government’s Department of Mines, but were using the licences for speculation purposes.  He said over 1 000 licences had been issued, but the holders were not carrying out any exploration work as expected.


“Over 1 000 exploration licences have been issued by the Department of Mines but most people who were awarded the licences are holding them for speculation purposes.  We want the process to remain simple and we will work on eliminating the speculative licences.  It does not add value.  We need people who add value,” delegates were informed.


Local business people who are engaged with mining companies in providing goods and services were also encouraged to register their vendor requirements with several companies mining in the country to avoid piling pressure on a single mine or losing a contract. “Register with several mines so that you don’t put pressure on a single mine.  Get to know the vendor requirements of all mining companies that is why as BCM we encourage multiple registration”.


Meanwhile, Siwawa said Botswana was now concentrating on pushing for development and opening of new mines in the western part of the country after the country had focused for some time on the east of the country with work currently underway for the construction of a power grid from Morupule to Maun and Ghanzi in the Kalahari Desert, west of Botswana. Large copper and silver deposits have recently been discovered in the Kalahari Desert. “We need to get more focus on the western side of the country.  This is where real mining is going to take place in Botswana in the next three years,” Siwawa explained.


Because of the increase in mining taking place in the eastern part of the country, a better road and rail network had been created and development now concentrated on the west. Siwawa also called for mineral beneficiation such as copper and coal by opening refineries in the country and grow Botswana, and create jobs.


“We have done that (beneficiation) with diamonds by moving the processing from London (UK) to Botswana where we are now adding value to them,” he said.This week’s fourth Electra Mining Botswana and A-OSH Expo edition saw over 100 Africa’s leading mining, industrial and power generation companies exhibiting.  It was also the first for occupational safety and health companies.  

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