By Tefo Tefo
MASERU – Lesotho’s biggest mining firm, Letséng Diamonds, last Friday awarded scholarships to seven students to enable them to study at South African universities.
The seven join 15 other students who are already studying at South African colleges and universities under the Letsing Diamond scholarship scheme.
The students will study electrical engineering, mining engineering, environmental health and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting.
Letséng Diamond non-executive director Tiisetso Sello-Mafatle said the scholarships were awarded in line with plans to develop Lesotho’s mining industry.
“Letséng Diamonds awards academic scholarships to Basotho to study in fields relevant to the development of natural resources of Lesotho thereby benefiting the Lesotho mining industry and the Basotho nations,” Sello-Mafatle said.
It was not possible to establish how much each student was awarded as part of the scholarship.
Sello-Mafatle only said they were full scholarships.
“I am not able to tell with certainty how much will be spent but the scholarship is wholly financed by Letséng.
“It covers amongst other things tuition, accommodation, study permit, project allowance and personal subsistence allowance,” Sello-Mafatle said.
She said Letseng Diamonds was still waiting for a break-down of the cost from the various universities where the students will be studying.
She said the company had last year pumped in M1.5 million for the upkeep of 15 students studying at South African universities.
The principal secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources Bataung Leleka praised Letseng Diamonds for investing in the country’s youth.
Leleka said although Lesotho produced less diamonds than its neighbours in southern Africa its diamonds were of a better quality.
“Although Letséng produces less diamonds it produces best quality diamonds against its competitors in the southern African region,” Leleka said. “We produce less diamonds but with greater quality.”
The government of Lesotho holds a 30 percent stake in Letseng Diamonds while the rest of the 70 percent is owned by Gem Diamonds Limited.