‘Implementation of mining policy long overdue’

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Bereng Mpaki

THE government representative in the Liqhobong diamond mine, Futho Hoohlo said the Ministry of Mines should expedite processes that would enable the implementation of the Minerals and Mining Policy of 2015.

Mr Hoohlo said this at a mining workshop in Maseru yesterday. He said it was disappointing that since its development in 2015, the mining policy is still to be implemented.

The policy seeks to provide a strategic direction for the management and sustainable exploitation of the country’s mineral resources through creation of a conducive climate for optimal development of the sector.

This policy will be harmonized with the country’s other national development blueprints such as the National Strategic Development Plan and the Vision 2020.

Approved by Cabinet in 2015, the document was officially launched in September 2016.

“We really need to hit the ground running in order to demonstrate the urgency needed to implement this policy,” Mr Hoohlo said.

However, the Minister of Mines, Keketso Sello, said validation processes were necessary to strengthen the mining policy ahead of its implementation.

“We have run a promising marathon race so far, all that is left is to run the final lap together for a common goal, which is for us to have effective strategies that can support the implementation of the Policy,” Minister Sello said.

“As I have said, we have to overcome together and consequently pride ourselves that we contributed to the building of a solid foundation that will ensure a sustainable mining sector. It is my hope that today’s deliberations will go a long way in paving way for the development and improvement of the mining sector. In particular, we need to ensure Lesotho has an enabling mining environment. We are looking at achieving a sustainable exploitation of the country’s mineral resources so that our wealth can benefit all Basotho and the future generations.”

Also speaking at the workshop, the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Rorisang Mahlo, attributed the slow pace in operationalizing the Policy to government bureaucratic processes.

He cited some delays in the allocation of ministerial budget, which directly influences the pace of operations.

Other participants also identified changes in government as part of the reasons why implementation of the Policy stalled.

Meanwhile, a local geologist, Teboho Mojaki said the government should demonstrate support by investing in the development of skills, which are critical for the growth of the mining sector.

“Given the critical role played by professions linked to the mining sector, in particular geology for the exploration of mineral resources, there is need to show recognition and invest in actions that can improve how the mining business is done in Lesotho,” Mr Mojaki said.

He said while professions such as the legal fraternity has a Law Society as a statutory body responsible for the conduct of law professionals, geologists, metallurgists and other professionals working in the mining sector do not have a representative body.

“We also need a similar body that will be responsible for our development and welfare,” he said.

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