Gaborone — Batswana have been called to invest in the mining sector and be players in the mining and manufacture of diamonds.
Addressing a press conference in Gaborone August 22, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Mr Eric Molale said Batswana should move from being in transport and or meals venture dealings with mining, but aspire to be in the core business of diamond marketing and sales in Botswana.
He stated that while mining had done a lot for the country, a lot still had to be done and Batswana had to make sure that they strive to be part of it.
Mr Molale stated that given the significance and contribution of the mining sector to the national economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), mining would continue to be a significant source of growth for years to come.
"Currently, diamonds contribute to the highest value of Botswana mineral asset, and we call on the private sector and or individuals to contribute in making Botswana an international diamond centre," he said.
He further highlighted that notwithstanding the significant contribution of mining, especially diamond mining to GDP and revenue, there are still opportunities for investment in the mineral sector.
He nevertheless said his ministry desired that minerals be not the only main revenue maker for Botswana.
Mr Molale pointed out that his ministry was reviewing legislation, policies and procedures to make them more amenable to mining business and investment.
He mentioned that they would advocate for and facilitate exploration of rare earth minerals and base metals, also saying that they would promote research and development sector and also continue to promote mineral beneficiation.
On other issues, Mr Molale said energy resources were an important input to the development of any aspiring economy.
He said the development of the sector would meet national priorities including eradication of extreme poverty, strengthening human development outcomes and diversified economic growth and employment creation.
He further pointed that the ministry was developing an energy policy to address issues of access, affordability and usage of green technology, adding that green technology would not only involve development of solar energy, but others such as bio-diesel and waste to energy.
Mr Molale also said the rural electrification programme would continue to be important in order to achieve high quality of life even in rural areas.
Nevertheless, Mr Molale said one of the biggest challenges in the mining sector was unpredictable commodity markets and prices.
He mentioned that poor prices of minerals in the markets had recently led to unsustainability in some of the operations and that subsequently resulted in closure of Botswana base metal mines as well as some of the diamond mines.
He also mentioned that there were shortages of skills in the ministry to support industry and venture into research and development, saying in that regard, the ministry would embark on training and retooling programme.
For his apart, permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Cornelius Dekop, said the mandate of the ministry was to steer and facilitate the development of the mining sector through sustainable extraction and management of mineral resources in order to contribute to the national economy.
Mr Dekop further stated that their strategic goals were to be in the top 10 of mining destination in the world, adding that the sectoral trusts were in line with the National Development Plan 11 and Vision 2036, especially in terms of sustainable economic development and environment.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>
Read the original article on Botswana Daily News.
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