GOVERNMENT says it used the just-ended 2017 African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa to create networks and linkages to further its aim of attracting M5 billion investment in the industry by the year 2020.
Every year, the African Mining Indaba event brings together industry experts, mining corporates, government ministers and business executives under one roof for pertinent discussions on challenges and opportunities of the African mining industry.
This year’s conference was held from 6 to 9 February.
Mining Minister, Lebohang Thotanyana who led the Lesotho delegation to the annual event said the conference had opened many doors for investment.
“The biggest highlight has been the turnout this year, the number of the investors, the mines and governments that we see and meet as colleagues around this convention centre,” Mr Thotanyana said.
“It’s been quite interesting and exciting for us, the fact that we have been able to engage, talk, make new connections, new relationships which possibly will result and translate into projects in the end.”
Government is angling for not less than M5 billion in investment to support the development of the mining industry by the year 2020 and it is envisaged that this investment will increase employment in the industry to 5000 jobs from the current 3000.
The industry contributed over M1 billion in income to the government’s purse in the 2015/16 financial year, the highest it has ever done.
This will increase the number of operating diamond mines from two to six by 2020. Currently, Letšeng Diamonds and Storm Mountain Diamonds (Kao Mine) are the only commercially operating mines, while Liqhobong Mining Development Company mine is expected to come on stream anytime.
Increasing the number of operational diamond mines will also increase the total production output from approximately 340 000 carats per annum to about 1, 5 million carats per annum.
This will in turn cement Lesotho’s position among the world’s top producers of diamonds where it is currently ranked number nine.