Botswana Targets Resource Diversification
By: Nelendhre Moodley.
“Over-dependence on diamonds has now more than ever made it an imperative for us to urgently expand our revenue base to other minerals such as coal and base metals,” Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently told delegates at the virtual 2021 Investing in African Mining Indaba.
In a bid to expand its resource base and attract potential investors, the government of Botswana is increasing efforts to digitise and make geoscience information available to prospectors and non-diamond mineral miners.
“My government is undertaking an assessment of mafic, ultramafic and granitic complexes to map and identify mineral occurrences to promote mineral prospecting in Botswana and the subsequent mining of these minerals,” Masisi said.
Aside from identifying projects suitable for exploration, Botswana was creating an enabling environment and putting in place strategies for mineral beneficiation which included base metals refineries.
In particular, Masisi flagged cement-grade calcite and lime stone deposits, extensive coal reserves and new copper opportunities in the Ghanzi region.
In a bid to drive local and international interest and investment in its coal sector, Botswana recently developed a coal roadmap which identified eight potential options on its 212 billion tonnes of coal reserves which remain largely unexploited.
“I must underscore that the roadmap promotes sustainable coal mining through the use of clean technology, as we seek to mitigate the effects of climate change. These options are classified based on their overall attractiveness with chrome exports, power exports, followed by coal-bed methane, and cement production.”
Meanwhile, in an effort to develop routes to the seaborne markets and put in place the necessary infrastructure to facilitate coal export, Botswana has been collaborating closely with neighbours.
In line with expanding diamond processing beyond just cutting and polishing, Botswana was looking at introducing alternatives and additional diamond supply avenues.
“This will provide impetus for secondary rough diamond trading, polished trading, space to support diamond business incubation and other diamond support services.”
Furthermore, plans were at an advanced stage for the development of the Botswana multi commodity exchange for the trading of various commodities. These measures are expected to provide “unlimited opportunities for investment in the minerals sector in Botswana”.
The Botswana government was also reviewing its mines and minerals policy to guide development and expedite growth of the minerals sector.
“The policy aims to maximise economic benefits and facilitate private sector involvement.
“It will also positively contribute to the review of our mining legislation taking into account current developments and emerging issues to ensure that our mining laws are in line with international best practice and attractive to potential investors.
“The current review of the mines and minerals act, the precious and semi-precious stones act and the diamond cutting and polishing act is a clear demonstration of our resolve to promote the minerals industry.”