THE reopening of the Liqhobong Diamond Mine will add value to the economy of Lesotho as the government is in fear of the shrinking revenue pool due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu says.
Aug. 27, 2021
3 min read
Liqhobong Mine reopens
The Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Butha Buthe
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He made the comments on Thursday during the official reopening of the Liqhobong Mining Development Company in Butha Buthe.
This, after the diamond mine was shut down two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the company’s operations.
Mr Mokhothu said by December, the mine will be in full operation with plans to engage almost 300 workers apart from those employed on a contractual basis.
He lauded the mine on the good relationship it has with the Liqhobong community, saying the affiliation is a pillar on which the mine will stand.
“It is crucial for the mine to maintain a healthy relationship with the community around it,” he added.
Commenting on the issue of social corporate responsibility, the DPM said it is essential, adding that if it is not explained thoroughly there will be misunderstandings.
He urged the Ministry of Mining to work with the mine on the employment policy, saying the first 100 employees should be drawn from communities around the mine with the rest from other parts of Butha Buthe and the rest of the country.
He said the mine should develop a Mining Development Fund which will entail awarding scholarships to at least five students every year from communities around the mine, who will study in fields such as engineering, water related courses and wool and mohair to mention a few.
“Those children will come back to develop the community after they complete their studies,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Mining, Serialong Qoo said as the mine resumes duties, it will pay royalty points and ground rent to mention a few while it looks into settling its debts first.
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He said the investors will ensure that the operations are running smoothly first before they start investing.
Mr Qoo promised that by December, two more mines will be opened in the country.
Echoing similar sentiments, Member of Parliament for Motete constituency, Tumahole Lerafa said the reopening of the mine is a major economic development, adding that its closure had caused a huge knock on Lesotho’s economy.
“They are going to complete whatever they were engaged in, such as finishing the homes for local communities,” he said.”
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Liqhobong Mining Development Company, Paul Bosman said most of the employees are back at their work stations and ready to start work.
He said the workers have already received their COVID-19 jabs, hopeful that will help keep the disease away from the mine. LeNA