12 March 2019

Botswana: Debswana Consults On Mine Closure Plan

Jwaneng — Debswana Jwaneng Mine has embarked on a consultative tour to engage stakeholders on the mine closure plan.

Briefing Jwaneng Town councillors during a full council meeting recently, Geoflux principal consultant Mr Monare Oageng said the aim was to source ideas and suggestions from all stakeholders, who included town leadership and the community on how they would like to see Jwaneng years after the mine closure.

He said it was not in dispute that one day the mine would close and it was upon the stakeholders to plan ahead on what would happen after that.

He said the plan should include how waste would be disposed safely, sustainable livelihoods of communities within the mine's zone of influence.

"We are going to consult with other stakeholders such as dikgosi in nearby villages, town leadership, government planning staff and other interested parties such as researchers of different institutions who may also assist us during the time of closure. Infrastructure, water disposal and other economic options for land use should also be considered in the plan," he explained.

Mr Oageng also noted that Jwaneng Mine had trained 300 people from surrounding villages on hand crafts and part of the plan was to build a cultural village along Trans-Kalahari Highway, where they could sell their products to the tourists.

He said the mine had partnered with different entities such as Companies and Intellectual Property Agency (CIPA) to assist communities in Tsonyane, Lefhoko, Maokane and Jwaneng to register their businesses.

Furthermore, he said the mine facilitated the training of a group of bricklayers from Tsonyane through the Construction Industry Trust Fund (CITF) and they were awarded certificates of competencies.

Mr Oageng asked the civic leaders to come up with suggestions on how skilled labour from the mine could be used after the closure of the mine.

He asked the house to also suggest how the infrastructure such as Jwana Park could be utilised.

Councillor Ronica Ntsimako of Mogale ward said the mine should consider upgrading Jwaneng Technical College infrastructure, which he said was in a bad state.

He said the mine should consider equipping the college with the latest machineries and equipment that prepare the graduates to work in the mine.

"We plead with the mine to employ the youth in our neighbouring villages who are mostly hard hit by poverty. You should also consider building such infrastructure as the Jwaneng-Sese road, which is usually used by mine workers who commute from Sese," added Ngami ward councillor Mr Bankinyana Montsiemang.

Meanwhile, Jwaneng Mine social performance specialist Mr Rebaone Tswiio assured the councillors that they would continue to consult with the town leaders and if need be, they would organise a workshop where councillors would air their suggestion on the plan.

He said the input of councillors was vital to map a clear vision of the mining town.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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