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Kao Mine spends M28m on building new village

The Kao mine hands over new houses to relocated communities

Nov. 21, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

THE Kao Mountain Storm Diamonds (MSD) Mine has spent M28 million on the construction of 15 news houses belonging to residents of Tiping who were relocated from their original homes to the new village of Porenki.

According to the mine’s Chief Executive Officer Mohale Ralikariki, 33 other repositioned families have opted to be given cash compensation in order to build their own new houses in other locations within the area.  

Porenki is a new neighbourhood established by the Kao Mine to accommodate relocated households that used to live on the land now utilised for Kao mining operations.

“The new houses are of higher standard compared to the old ones that these people used to live in. The houses have electricity and flat screen televisions among other luxuries. Water taps, toilets, kraals and roads have been constructed to meet basic needs of the new village,” Mr Ralikariki explained on Wednesday, during the handing over ceremony of the new homes.

He said after four years of intensive consultations with the villagers and other stakeholders, the project has finally been completed.

“The mine has also realised the need to build a health clinic in the new village; a huge necessity for the people of Kao,” he said.

Echoing similar sentiments, SMD board chairman Robert Cowley said the financial benefit the mine gets from selling diamonds harvested at the mine should also be enjoyed by the indigenous people of Kao.  

“We thank Basotho for allowing us to invest in this beautiful country of theirs. To the people of this new village, I wish to say; let this settlement shine like the diamonds from the Kao Mine,” Mr Cowley also said.  

On behalf of the relocated families, ’Makeneuoe Lebona could not hold back her excitement when she received keys to her new home and its lease.

Mrs Lebona said: “The mine has finally lived up to its promise. We are now living in beautiful glass houses which this area has never seen before.”

Although Member of Parliament for the Motete Constituency Tumahole Lerafa welcomed the initiative, he was however, concerned about the fields and pastures the relocated communities had to leave behind at their former village.

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“It is a serious pending issue that the mine has to punctually address because these people survive mainly through subsistence farming and rearing of livestock.”

For his part, the Minister of Mining Serialong Qoo was content that the Kao mine is one a few operating in alignment with the country’s laws and policies.

Kao-SMD is jointly owned by Namakwa Diamonds Limited (75%) and the Government of Lesotho (25%). SMD operates Kao Mine with a 19.8ha kimberlite pipe. This is the largest kimberlite pipe in Lesotho.

The mine shows that it has a remaining life span of 20 plus years of operation.

The operations are conventional open pit mining, with drilling and blasting, loading and hauling. The recovered diamonds are sold in Antwerp, Belgium on tender basis to a variety of rough diamond buyers including investors, traders and manufacturers.

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