Botswana eyes growth in coal and copper industries

 Botswana eyes growth in coal and copper industries

Botswana eyes growth in coal and copper industries.

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Botswana has set sights on the exploitation of both untapped copper and coal deposits to improve its income from the mining sector which has in the past be steered by diamond production.

The country’s President Eric Masisi this week said the country will continue to increase private investment in the mining sector for the betterment of its economy as well improving the standards of living of its citizens

Masisi made the remarks this week at the  opening of the Koemacau Copper Mine is expected to contribute approximately, P119 billion to the GDP, with an estimated average annual tax revenue of over P1 Billion during the 22-year lifespan of the mine.

According to President Masisi this project currently has a staff compliment of 2,800; 96% of whom are locals and will go a long way in stimulating economic growth with has been battered by the ravaging covid19 pandemic.

“The mine has the capacity to produce 165, 000 tonnes of high-grade copper and silver concentrate a year, containing about 65,000 tonnes of payable copper and 2 million ounces of payable silver.

“This is yet another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to creating a healthy environment for private sector participation in the country’s economy. It is also a fulfilment of the Government’s commitment to partner with the private sector to bring infrastructural developments and create employment in the country,” he said.

The Southern African country has also opened up to massive Chinese investments in the coal mining industry and are expecting heavy rewards.

According to the Botswana Government the opening up of the coal industry which has been largely unexploited for years and has been playing second fiddle to neighbours South Africa will see the construction of a 150-kilometre railway line linking the two countries.

Botswana expects to export its coal resources through South African ports and anticipates that the heavy Chinese investments will also go a long way in making a positive dent ion the unemployment figures as well as increase revenue earning from the extractive industry,

Botswana’s overdrive in the mining industry comes at the back of the Southern African regional economy shrinking by almost five percent in the previous year.

According to SADC economic growth in the region contracted by 4.8 percent in 2020 lower then the growth of 2.1 percent was recorded in 2019, while region annual inflation increased to an average of 49.6 percent in 2020 from 16.4 percent in 2019, largely due to heightened inflationary pressures in Zimbabwe.

“The region’s current account balance as a ratio of GDP widen from an average deficit of 4.2 percent in 2019 to a deficit averaging 4.7 per cent in 2020.SADC International reserves increased to 5.9 months of import cover in 2020 from 5.3 the month of import cover in 2019 as a result of the subdued demand,” SADC said in their latest economic assessment.

Global growth in 2020 contracted by 3.3 percent from a growth of 2.9 percent in 2019, largely driven by the decline in commodity prices, trade policy uncertainty, escalation of trade tensions, and rising debt.

Tiri Masawi

is a Business Journalist and Editor for 14 years. He is currently working in Namibia and has written for several Namibian, Zimbabwean, and South African newspapers. He also works as a fixer for BBC in Namibia. He has a firm interest in reading as well as mentoring young journalists in the craft.

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