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Mothae Mine halts operations

Mothae Diamond Mine Managing Director Stephen Wetherall


Jan. 16, 2021 2 min read

2 min read


MOTHAE Diamond Mine which is managed by Lucapa Diamond, has suspended operations for 14 days in response to a nationwide lockdown imposed by the prime minister on Tuesday night.

The Australian – based company says it reached the decision after engaging in talks with the government of Lesotho, which holds a 30 percent stake in the mine.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our valued teams on site, hence we decided to temporarily suspend operations,” the mine’s Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said in a statement.

The suspension, he said is expected to be a short-term move as it is a health and safety decision, not a market-induced one.

“As the diamond market continues to show a positive trajectory, Lucapa remains engaged with its financiers through this period,” Mr Wetherall said.

Last year, the kimberlite mine located in Thaba-Tseka resumed operations in October following its closure in March due to a previous nationwide lockdown induced by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mothae Mine, the Minister of Mining Serialong Qoo earlier said was on the track to introduce a new tendering process in a bid to improve job creation opportunities.

He said the mine would engage a company to cut and polish diamonds in order to be sold at higher prices in the market, a move he added would benefit both the mine and the government as there would be 60 percent job creation opportunities because more plants would be introduced and more contractors hired. 

But the Gem Diamonds on Wednesday said its iconic Letšeng Mine located about 15 kilometres from Mothae, will carry on with operations during the lockdown that came into effect from midnight on Thursday.


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The restrictions, according to the government, come amid an alarming number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in recent weeks.

Letšeng Mine, located in Mokhotlong, pledged to continue implementing measures for regular testing and protection of all its staff and contractors, as per the law and the World Health Organisation (WHO) health protocols.

During the lockdown period, most businesses have closed shop except for those that provide essential services.

Other measures put in place to curb the spread of the deadly virus include banning of all international travel except for people who go to South Africa for work who are supposed to be in possession of valid permits and negative COVID-19 certificates.    

 

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