Botswana adopts Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining initiative

GABORONE, Botswana, Feb. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - The Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) today announced that it will adopt the Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) initiative, a corporate social responsibility program developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) to improve environmental and social practices in the mining industry.

MAC and its members launched TSM in 2004. Implementation of the program is mandatory for all MAC members’ Canadian operations, but many voluntarily apply it to their international sites. MAC freely shares TSM with other countries seeking tools to improve the environmental and social performance of their mining industries, including engagement with civil society and enhanced transparency and accountability.

TSM requires mining companies to annually assess their facilities’ performance across six important areas, including tailings management, community outreach, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management, and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management. The results are freely available to the public and are externally-verified every three years to ensure what has been reported is accurate. While BCM will tailor its performance areas so that they reflect the unique aspects of its domestic mining sector, they will be at a similar level to those of Canada’s.

To ensure TSM reflects the expectations of civil society and industry stakeholders, it was designed and continues to be shaped by an independent, multi-interest advisory panel. As part of its implementation, BCM will implement a similar advisory body to provide this valuable oversight function.


Botswana gets offer for struggling BCL mines

Feb 7 Botswana’s high court agreed on Tuesday to delay the provisional liquidation of state-owned BCL Mine Ltd after lawyers representing the liquidator KPMG said they had received an offer to buy its mothballed mines, which produce copper and nickel.

While the lawyers declined to name the company making the offer, a source close to the process told Reuters a company from the United Arab Emirates had put forward an offer for the three companies under the BCL group.

“The minister is currently in the UAE negotiating for the sale of the BCL group,” said the source, who declined to be named as the matter was confidential.

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Green Technology Sadique Kebonang posted on his Facebook page on Monday a picture of himself captioned: “In the UAE trying to save BCL.”

In a briefing in January, Nigel Dixon-Warren of KPMG said he would recommend to the courts that BCL be placed under final liquidation as its three subsidiaries were insolvent and the government had no money to finance operations.

Following the placement of BCL group under provisional liquidation in October 2016, Russia’s Norilsk took legal action against the mining group to recover $271.3 million it says it is owed for the sale of a 50 percent stake in the Nkomati JV in South Africa.

Apart from the Norilsk claim, BCL owes creditors including suppliers and banks around $85.41 million. ($1 = 10.5374 pulas) (Reporting by Johannesburg Newsroom, editing by David Evans)


Shumba signs option for 75% stake in Botswana coal mine

Shumba Energy has signed an option to acquire 75% of the Morupule South project in Botswana from Hodges Resources.

The Morupule South Coal project is located within the central eastern district of Botswana, directly to the south of the Morupule Colliery. The project has a resource of 2,45bn tons of Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) compliant resources of which 380m tons are in the measured and indicated categories.

The Morupule main seam represents 83% of the resources, and 1,2bn tons are amenable to open cut mining with initial waste to coal strip ratios of under 2 to 1.

Study results confirm robust economics across all Morupule South development scenarios. Wood Mackenzie benchmarked Morupule South’s mining costs and coal quality against other southern African domestic mines and the project is expected to be one of the lowest cost in the region.

Morupule South’s mining costs and coal quality were benchmarked against other south African domestic mines. The energy adjusted benchmarking graph supports the viability of the project’s development.

Shumba Energy’s managing director, Mashale Phumaphi, comments, “The Morupule South acquisition elevates Shumba Energy to be able to take advantage of the domestic and regional industrial market.

“The project is located five kilometres from an operating rail siding and can be brought into production within a very short timeframe. These factors set the Morupule South project ahead of other coal development projects in Botswana.”


Controversial CKGR mine-based Ghaghoo suspends operations

A relatively new diamond-mine, located in the heart of Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Ghaghoo mine which is a subsidiary of Gem Diamonds Botswana, has suspended operations and preparing to undergo retrenchment exercise.

Managing Director of Gem Diamonds Botswana, Haile Mphusu, confirmed to this publication that retrenchment will ensue as a result of halting of production at the mine. “We are starting process of putting the mine on care and maintenance,” Mphusu pointed out while adding that in a lay man’s view, “it means that production has stopped.” “The only work that will take place is the one aimed at preserving the assets. By all intends and purposes production has ceased,” the MD stressed.

The reasons for closing the mine he said is that the price of the type of diamonds that is mined at Ghaghoo has weakened and “we are continuing to lose money.” He pointed out that most employees will be cut but of course not all will lose jobs, others will remain to keep the asset in state so that when prices of diamonds recovers, mining can start.

“We have around 183 employees in Botswana who work for Gem Diamonds Botswana that owns Ghaghoo mine. We also have around 115 that we outsourced to other companies. In the process of care and maintenance, only around 30 to 40 employees will remain to take care of the assets. Therefore around 250 will lose jobs,” he highlighted to this publication.

According to Mphusu, shareholders cannot continue to subsidies the mine. Gem Diamonds, the leading producer of high-value diamonds, owns both the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana. Its client base comprises of prominent diamantaires and manufacturers from the world’s major diamond centers which are New York, Belgium, Israel, India, China, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Switzerland.