Fifth diamond mine for Lesotho

 Fifth diamond mine for Lesotho

Fifth diamond mine for Lesotho.

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Lesotho will soon open its fifth diamond mine. Khubelu Mine in Mokhotlong, will become the fifth after Letšeng, the highest dollar per carat diamond mine in the world; Kao; Liqhobong and Lucapa mines. The new mine is owned by Thaba Telle Mining Company, which last month became the first locally-owned firm to be awarded diamond mining rights in Lesotho.

Thabe Telle Mining Company chief executive officer, Lehlohonolo Nthontho this week said his company was awarded a 10-year mining lease to mine the Khubelu kimberlite pipe. Thaba Telle Mining Company is owned by Lehakoe Diamonds with 60 percent shareholding, the Lesotho government with 25 percent while 15 percent is controlled by Thaba Telle Minerals, which in turn is controlled by South African investors.

Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mathibeli Mokhothu launched the mine last week. Nthontho last week said he was excited about venturing into the lucrative diamond mining sector. He said last week’s launch was the culmination of hard work and overcoming many challenges.

“We are looking forward to this exciting journey, which will give us an opportunity contribute to the country’s economic development through employment and taxes like other big locally owned businesses,” said Nthontho.

He said they are planning to inject R60 million into the first phase of development. The phase will be a year-long and is expected to generate at least 100 jobs. An expansive second phase is expected to generate a further 500 jobs.

“We are currently setting up the mine plant ahead of commencing commercial production in the next three to four months. What we are doing now involves constructing access roads, water supply systems and accommodation facilities as part of the necessary infrastructure to facilitate production.”

The company used airborne geo magnetic surveying technology, which improved the quality of its study during the prospecting stage. The company has already spent R20 million during the prospecting stage.

Deputy Prime Minister Mokhothu expressed delight that the mine was locally owned. “What I like about this mine is that it is owned by a Mosotho who comes from the Mokhotlong district. This is significant because we are used to getting complaints that Mokhotlong people are not playing a significant role in the mining of their diamonds.

“Hopefully this mine will end those complaints as Nthontho is from the district and is the first Mosotho to get a mining lease as opposed to the usual awarding of licences to companies from outside the country,” Mr Mokhothu said.

Meanwhile, Minister Qoo said three more new diamond mines would be opened before the end of the year. He however, did not give any details about the new mines.

Silence Charumbira

Silence Charumbira is a journalist based in Maseru, Lesotho. He has vast experience having trained and worked in Harare for both state-owned and private media. He freelances for several international and regional papers among them The Guardian. View reputable reputation at The Guardian. He has interests in climate change reporting as well as illicit financial flows reporting with a thrust on how these phenomena affect people’s daily lives. He loves traveling, photography, reading, and writing.

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