Botswana: Mine Workforce 99 Per Cent Citizens

Jwaneng — Debswana Jwaneng Mine has been applauded for its high level of citizen empowerment.

The praise came from Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mr Lefoko Moagi during a tour of the mine on Wednesday.

Mr Moagi, who had learnt that the mine's citizen employment rate stood at 99 per cent, said it was in line with government's commitment to empowering citizens.

The mine's general manager, Mr Koolatotse Koolatotse had indicated that among the company's most notable achievements was its level of citizen employees.

Mr Moagi said such a high number of citizen employees was likely to help grow the country's economy.

The minister explained that plans were in progress to put before the forthcoming Parliament session a citizen empowerment bill.

Mr Moagi encouraged the company not to focus only on mining diamonds, but to also look into the product's value chain as well as aggregates from the mine.

"At the moment there is a high volume of waste rock from the mine. These rocks could open up sand mining businesses, where the rocks are crushed into the sand to help the construction and road sectors," he said.

Mr Moagi said the move would benefit communities as some of the businesses could be community-based.

Minister Moagi said such a decision should be easier considering that most of the skills at the mine were from citizens.

He implored the mine management to ensure that such skills were imparted to junior staff members for the sake of maintaining a good legacy.

"No human being is indispensable, so you should ensure that before you leave, your skills are imparted to others to keep the good image of the mine and the company going," he said.

Mr Moagi also applauded the company for the assistance it rendered to communities in the mine's vicinity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistance includes fumigation of public spaces, provision of potable water and support to the health sector.

"Such is a commendable effort, you have to assist the human being because, without it, a company is as good as nothing," he said adding that such actions took the load off government.

Mr Moagi said the purpose of his visit was to appreciate operations and see where government could lend support as well as appreciate the mine's plans, especially in embracing new technology.

For her part, Debswana acting managing director, Ms Lynette Armstrong said low sales were expected especially since the US, its biggest customer, was currently hardest-hit by COVID-19.

Ms Armstrong apprised the minister on the company's corporate social responsibility projects among them upgrading of Tsonyane Clinic, the planned construction of a clinic at Maboane, provision of porta-cabins for isolation centre at Mabutsane and the annual Diamond Dreams Academy Awards for schools in Jwaneng and surrounding villages.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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