THE advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought several challenges, chief among which are deaths of scores of people and the closing down of numerous businesses across the globe.
Sept. 3, 2021
3 min read
Resumption of work at Liqhobong Mine brings great economic hope
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The impact of the deadly virus has also had notable consequences on the economic environment of all countries including Lesotho, with businesses in various sectors forced to either close shop or retrench workers due to poor markets both on the home front and internationally.
The Government of Lesotho imposed the first national lockdown on March 29, last year, in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Many businesses were closed down as per the government’s order, but the Liqhobong Diamond Mine, which is located at the head of the Liqhobong Valley in the Maluti Mountains in the northern district of Butha-Buthe, had by then already made plans of its own.
The mine that is operated by Liqhobong Mining Development Company (LMDC), which is 75 percent owned by Firestone Diamonds and 25 percent owned by the Lesotho Government announced four days before the lockdown began that it would suspend operations for at least three weeks.
The reason behind was to safeguard the mine’s over 500 employees and surrounding community from the pandemic.
Only essential care and maintenance services as well as security personnel were left behind at the mine compound.
But a year and a couple of months later, the mine still remained closed to only resume operations last week.
The impact of the closure was not only felt in the country but even beyond Lesotho’s borders where the mine’s precious stones are normally auctioned.
So the resumption of operations at the mine has been welcomed in all quarters across the globe, as it brings hope to the country’s distressed economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu says the reopening of the mine will add value to our economy as the government is apprehensive about the dwindling revenue pool owing to the pandemic.
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Mokhothu who spearheaded the official reopening of the mine last week Thursday pledged that by December, the company will be in full operation with plans to hire about 300 more workers besides those already engaged on a contractual basis.
There is no doubt that the presence of the mine in area has brought a positive impact on the community around the mining site.
It has a good relationship with the community and has enriched the quality of the people’s lives through improved health care services, education and better employment opportunities.
Resumption of work at the mine further offers hope that there will be a complete turn-around in the staggering unemployment rate in Lesotho.
Liqhobong brings the total number of major diamond mines operating in Lesotho to five, inclusive of Letšeng, Kao, Kolo and Mothae.