Botswana is Africa’s third largest mining producer after South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Diamonds, copper-nickel, soda ash, coal and gold are exploited. It is Africa’s largest and the world’s third largest producer of diamonds and second largest producer of gem diamonds. The mining sector represents 34.2% of the country’s GDP and 50% of its tax revenues. Diamond mining is dominated by Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd whose 3 mines produced a total of 14.76 million carats in 1993, marketed exclusively by the De Beer’s Central Selling Organisation. Recently, Russia and Botswana signed an a memorandum of understanding to exchange information to harmonise methods of selling diamonds to ensure equitable sharing of the market. Botswana has two diamond cutting and polishing factories.
Botswana has vast proven reserves of bituminous coal which have not yet been fully exploited. Other known mineral deposits include asbestos, chromite, feldspar, graphite, gypsum, iron, kaolin, talc and uranium.
Other Metals and Minerals
Other metals and minerals produced in Botswana include gold, copper-nickel and cobalt, and soda ash while known mineral deposits include asbestos, chromite, feldspar, graphite, gypsum, iron, kaolin, talc and uranium. Copper/nickel exports amount to some US$ 99 million per annum.
The greenstone belt is currently being explored by Gallery Gold, an Australian company, the object being to discover one million ounces of gold by mid 2000. The area includes the Tati and Vumba belts near the Zimbabwe border. The greenstone belts also have the potential to host nickel sulphide deposits. Such deposits are currently being mined by Anglo American and Lionore.
Selebi-Phikwe is the centre of Botswana’s copper-nickel-cobalt mining industry. It is dominated by Bamangwato Concessions Limited (BCL), jointly owned by the Botswana Government and Anglo American, one of the largest private sector employer with over 4850 employees. Some 40,000 tons per year of copper-nickel matte is produced for refining in Zimbabwe and Norway.
Australia-based Gallery Resources began mining at its Golden Eagle project near Francistown in October 1996. However Gallery Gold has terminated underground operations at the mine due to the lower gold price.The heap-leach option will enable the carbon-in-leach plant at the Monarch mine to be held in reserve for treating Monarch ore and other ore that may be available at various sites on Gallery’s leases. Gallery is continuing its exploration program near Francistown. Drilling has produced encouraging results, including an intersection of 8.2 g/t over 6.8 meters, on the Shashe lease that was once owned by Phelps Dodge.
Other major Botswana mines include the Phoenix copper/nickel mine, and the Rainbow and Signal Hill gold mines. Soda ash is produced by Botswana Ash.
Amalia’s Signal Hill project area held in north eastern Botswana has a resource base of almost 200,000 indicated ounces of gold, 387,000 inferred ounces and 425,000 potential ounces.
On the exploration front, the Canadian company, Falconbridge Exploration, has been evaluating the possible exploitation of copper deposits at Thakada and Makala. Trillion is involved in exploring the Kalahari Gold, Shashi and Sowa Pan properties.
Previously all minerals were vested in the state while still in the ground, irrespective of land ownership. This meant that there was no guarantee of companies obtaining a mining lease once they had done the exploration. These conservative laws are under review, making the process more automatic and predictable, and therefore more attractive. A new type of concession, the Retention Licence, has also been introduced. This means that prospectors are not required to use their lease immediately.
The mining industry is regulated by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs. The Honorable DN (David) Magang is the current Minister of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs.
|Ministry of Mineral Resources
and Water Affairs
Private Bag 0018
|Minerals Section :
Principal Minerals Officer
Private Bag 0018
|Department of Mines
Private Bag 0049