STORM Diamonds Mine (SMD) which operates the Kao Mine last week donated 31 high breed rams worth a total M300 000 to wool farmers, in a move that is expected to improve their livestock and give them a better livelihood.
Feb. 28, 2022
3 min read
Wool farmers get M300 000 shot in the arm
The donated high breed rams
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The rams were received by the Motete Wool and Mohair Association (MWMA) on behalf of the farmers.
Jointly owned by the Lesotho Government, which holds 25 percent of the free carry shares in SMD, the operations are entirely funded by Namakwa Diamonds Limited.
SMD Chief Executive Officer, Mohale Ralikariki said the donation formed part of investments injected in the Kao community to address job scarcity and improve the livelihoods of the communities surrounding the diamond mine’s operations.
“The fact is, the mine cannot employ everyone from Kao but can assist in many ways to improve the lives of the people," he said.
Mr Ralikariki said the procurement of improved rams was an initiative aimed at advancing the production of wool and mohair for farmers in the area.
“It will also improve breeding as well as nutrition through the restoration and rehabilitation of rangelands,” he added.
The mine has also built offices for personnel working at the woolshed that was constructed in 1973.
Mr Ralikariki said although all the mines operating in Lesotho belonged to Basotho, Kao Mine began charity at home, where development projects should benefit the community that was directly affected by the mining operations.
“We call on other businesses to extend a helping hand in the wool and mohair farming because when we work together, I'm certain that within a period of five years we can distribute about half a million of upgraded rams to other farmers throughout the country,” he said.
Director of field services at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Thabo Sekhonyana urged the farmers to preserve the rams in order to promote commercial farming.
"Commercial farming is a method in which crops and livestock are raised to sell products in order to make money,” he said.
“To raise commercial farming, a huge amount of capital investment is necessary,” he added.
Mr Sekhonyana said it was worth noting that one ram could mate with up to 40 to 50 ewes, strongly emphasising the need for their protection.
Under its Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP), the ministry supports farmers nationwide.
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MWMA Chairperson, Tumaole Lerafa who is also a Member of Parliament for the Motete Constituency, said the beneficiaries of the donatedrams were selected through a performance-based interview.
The Kao Mine is the fourth largest kimberlite pipe in southern Africa - and the largest kimberlite pipe in Lesotho - from a coverage perspective at 19.8 hectares, with an indicated and inferred resource base of 12.7 million carats.
Kao’s pipe has been explored and confirmed to a depth of 500m. The mine has approximately 18 years of operation left.
A deposit with exceptional prospects, Kao yields rare coloured diamonds ranging from purple, pink, blue, yellow and top light brown to the classic whites.
Globally, ‘fancy coloured’, also known as rare diamonds, are regarded as an exceptional investment. The blues, pinks and the purples tend to be the rarest with the exception of red; the rarest of the rare.
Kao Mine has managed to increase its processing capacity by 40 percent over the past five years and is expected to continue looking for opportunities to expand.
The mine employs over 700 people and has contributed over M700 million to the Lesotho Government fiscus through taxes and levies.
The mine’s diamonds are sold on tender in Antwerp, Belgium through sales and marketing partners Bonas Couzyn Antwerpen NV.