Botswana is striving to become one of the top ten mining destinations of choice in the world, Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security minister Sadique Kebonang has said.
Officially opening the 14th Botswana Resource conference held under theme, Deepening investment and diversifying focus in Botswana’s Resource Sector, Sadique said this goal would realised through private sector investment, boosting of investor confidence and will see Botswana emerge as a mining centre of excellence.
Kebonang said they also want to become a net energy exporter within the region as well as to ensure affordable, accessible and sustainable supply of energy to Botswana through multiple sources. He said his ministry will continue to make necessary reviews to legislation and policies to ensure that they are conducive to sustainable mineral exploration, mining and energy development.
“Significant developments have been made that we believe have put us on track to be a mining centre of excellence and to see business thriving in the mineral sector,” he said adding that they have proposed changes in the Mines and Minerals Act, Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act and Diamond Cutting Act, which will be discussed in the next sitting of parliament.
He said the amendments to these acts were done to achieve the setting up of mine closure funds for rehabilitation, pursue citizen economic empowerment initiatives, ensure safe use of explosives and prevent their use in criminal activities. The amendments also seek to remove trade barriers and increase penalties to deter illegal trade in the diamond sector. The minister said 2017 has started on a good note for the mining sector as the country has seen an encouraging appetite demonstrated by Diamantaires to buy rough diamonds. “There is, however, a rising concern that strong demand and prices were getting ahead of the polished, and this had a potential to compromise the sustainability of the demand manufacturing industry,” said the minister.
He said although performance of the mineral sector has still not recovered from the decline of the mineral commodity prices, the world is beginning to see a wake of activity, as the prices start to rebound. “I have been made aware that Mowana Copper Mine has commenced operations in the second quarter of this year. It is our hope that BCL and Tati Nickel Mines also, being the largest employers in the sector will soon find investors and commence operations,” said Kebonang.
He stated that the copper belt in North-West Botswana is an area that the government wishes to encourage investment in as it could provide another opportunity of diversification away from diamonds. He said the ministry is working hard to complete the development of a 400 kilovolts transmission line from Morupule to Maun and is hoping the transmission will support potential mining and business by providing a cheaper and more stable source of power.