March 30, 2021


4 min read

Mafeteng ceramic tile firm bounces back

Mafeteng ceramic tile firm bounces back

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Thabiso Molapo

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THE Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Thabiso Molapo says the government is going to revive the ceramic tiles firm in Mafeteng, which was shut down in 1998.

The tiles produced at the closed factory were made of clay mined from the village of Phoqoane in the same district.

Dr Molapo made this revelation on Monday during his tour of the district where he was accompanied by his mining counterpart Serialoang Qoo together with high ranking government officials.

He told the residents of Phoqoane that the government’s negotiations with investors from Italy are at an advanced stage and that they have also incorporated into the deal a certain Mafeteng businessperson whose identity will soon be released.

“Since the clay soil in Phoqoane resembles the one in Italy, the investors will be dealing with materials that they fully appreciate,” he said, adding he learnt that the community wants the firm to build houses for them in exchange for utilising their land.

“We will definitely pay heed to your call,” Dr Molapo said, promising the residents that they will also reap benefits such as getting other essential services like water and electricity in the process.

He showed that by the end of this week, they would have informed the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) about their plan to get things rolling in Phoqoane.

For his part, Mr Qoo said his ministry is out to identify places where the country’s various treasures and minerals still remain untapped.

Basotho, he further noted have to ensure that their untapped resources are used productively to improve their lives and develop the economy of the country.

He told the residents that it is no longer necessary for them to cross the border to South Africa in order to go and work in that country’s numerous abandoned mines.

“We have also been informed by your area chief that most of his subjects have moved to towns for jobs,” the minister said.

But with the reopening of the tile factory, the trend of residents leaving their homes for employment elsewhere will be a thing of the past.

“On our way here, we stopped at the Kolo Diamond Mine to learn about its operation and its relationship with the community in that area, that is why we arrived here so late,” Mr Qoo also showed.

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Making examples of local firms that make use of natural resources found in their respective areas, the minister cited the Loti Brick Company in Ha Thetsane that manufactures bricks using clay that is mined in that urban settlement located in Maseru.

He was also quick to note that the production of bricks in Ha Thetsane has created a lot of employment opportunities for the residents and other people coming from different parts of Lesotho.

“By so doing, the firm has contributed significantly to the economy of the country,” he showed.

Other places that have similar mineable clay include Morija, Tsikoane, Tenane and Souru in Qacha’s Nek.

Mr Qoo pledged that the Italian investors will discuss with the residents as to what they can offer them as soon as they get operating licenses.

“The investors could offer you electricity, employment, water or any other essential service,” he said, adding that it is imperative for Basotho to market their country through its natural resources.

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