Mining production in Botswana decreased by 8.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2019, compared to the second quarter of 2018, latest statistics released by the Statistics Botswana this week show.
Announcing the latest production figures, Statistician General, Dr. Burton Mguni said the main contributor to this reduction in the index were diamonds, which contributed a negative 8.1 percent. Other minerals that saw a drop in production under the period under review were; gold and coal while soda ash and salt recorded some significant increases. “The Index of Mining Production stood at 85.9 during the second quarter of 2019, showing a year-on -year reduction of 8.7 percent from 94.0 recorded during the second quarter of 2018,” Dr. Mguni said.
He added; “Comparison on a quarter-on-quarter basis shows a decrease of 4.1 percent, from the index of 89.6 realised during the first quarter of 2019 to 85.9 registered during the second quarter of 2019.” Mining production in Botswana averaged 9.48 per cent from 2004 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 624.40 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 and a record low of -91.60 per cent in the first quarter of 2009
The quarter-on-quarter analysis showed a decrease of 4.1 percent, from the index of 89.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2019 to 85.9 per cent observed during the second of quarter of this year. Dr. Mguni said diamond production decreased during the period under review, declining by 8.4 percent during the second quarter of 2019, as compared to an increase of 6.4 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year.
“This can be attributable to weaker trading conditions as well as being cautious to macroeconomic uncertainty. The quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects that diamond production decreased by 4.2 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 as compared to a decrease of 5.4 per cent registered in the first quarter of 2019,” he said. Gold production declined for the second consecutive year, decreasing by 14.0 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018.
According to Dr. Mguni, the decrease in gold production was as a result of unstable commodity prices as well as the notable deteriorating lifespan of the Mupane Gold Mine. “On the other hand, the quarter-on-quarter analysis shows an increase of 36.6 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2019,” he said. Meanwhile positive production increases were recorded in soda ash, recorded positive growth for the sixth consecutive quarter, increasing by 0.1 per cent during the second quarter of 2019, compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
“The continued improvement in production may be attributable to the plant’s high efficiency following the plant refurbishment which occurred in 2017. On the other hand, the quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production declined by 30.7 per cent during the period under review,” the Statistician General said.
Botswana Ash (BotAsh), the only extractor of Soda Ash, is a 50/50 partnership between the Government and Chlor Alkali Holdings (CAH) Group, a South African based company, which is also the management partner. BotAsh has a capacity of 300, 000 tons of soda ash per annum and currently produces over 280.000 tons, making Botswana one of the largest producers in the world.
Salt production also recorded an increase of 41.7 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018. The quarter-on-quarter comparison on the other hand, shows a decline of 25.0 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 compared to a decline of 21.9 per cent of the preceding quarter.
However, coal production dropped for the third consecutive quarter, declining by 6.3 per cent during the second quarter of 2019 compared to production registered during the same quarter of the previous year. Although production fell, it is important to note that there was no shortfall in supply of coal due to stockpiling. The quarter-on-quarter comparison on the other hand shows that coal production rose by 12.3 per cent when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Copper-nickel-cobalt matte, copper in concentrates and silver recorded zero production during the period under review. The instability and uncertainty of commodity prices affected the operations of the involved mines, which made it difficult to sustain themselves at the current prices, leading to the provisional liquidation,” said Dr. Mguni. The mining industry in Botswana has since the early 1980s been the largest contributor to real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contributing between 20 and 50 percent.
These mineral contributions have enabled the Government to undertake investments in both human and physical infrastructure development over time. Even though the mining sector’s contribution to GDP has been below 25 percent since the 2009 recession, available data indicates that the sector still leads in terms of value added contribution to GDP.
Dr. Mguni said despite its great contribution to Botswana’s GDP, the mining industry was capital intensive and accounted for less than five percent of employment in the private sector. “With such a significant contribution to the GDP, and the national economy, the need for a measure of the change in the production of minerals in Botswana cannot be over emphasised. The index of the physical volume of mining production is such a measure that provides a relative change over time in mining production,” he said.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.