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1000 jobs for Lobatse as Milk Afric rouses

Managing Director of Government industrialization and investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation, (BDC) Bashi Gaetsaloe revealed this week Monday that by the end of 2018 Botswana will meet over 60% of its diary and milk products demand as the much anticipated Milk Afric products hit the market.

Gaetsaloe explained that the project was in its final stages of readying for production. Over 1000 Lobatse residents will benefit as the milk project and other BDC ventures are envisaged to create jobs. “We are talking about a high-tech project that takes advantage of today’s modern and innovative techniques as far as milk processing and dairy produce is concerned,” he said.  The BDC Chief Executive underscored that the project was a successful dairy venture that will deliver value for this economy. 

“Milk Afric will not only be producing milk, as part of their operation, they will also undertake significant fodder production in order to ensure availability of feed for the cattle. They are also considering venturing into the entire value chain.” Gaetsaloe further added that the infrastructure at Milk Afric was world class and value for investment was guaranteed. “We have invested and our aim is to get value for our investment and we have no doubt because the other investors are bringing the much needed expertise and experience.”

It is estimated that each head will produce around 20 litres per day which is enough to benefit the dairy value chain production including processing of raw milk into dairy products and distribution of dairy products outside Botswana Boarders.  “By end of this year Milk Afric Products will be consumed locally and we estimate about 60 % of the local demand to be met by then with more anticipated as the project unfolds to full operation in future,” he said.

The Chief Executive underscored that it was without doubt that the project will be a success because all stakeholders were involved and contributing meaningfully. He told this publication that in April 2016, BDC formed a partnership with Milk Afric, a company with United States origin. The corporation has invested 40 million in the project to hold 26% of the equity.

“As all other equity investments done by the Corporation, the preference is to maintain minority shares, so my interest is for the project to take off and my organization to get its returns, we will see afterwards of we continue holding our equity or we sell our shares to raise capital for other projects because our goal is to create jobs from venture to venture,” he highlighted.

Lobatse Leather Park

The much anticipated and talked about leather pack is also said to be taking shape.  The park is among the developments that will see Lobatse turn in to an industrial hub and lead to mass jobs creation. The leather park was identified as some of the special economic zones geared towards unearthing strategic investment and economic potential. The Ministry of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) developed the leather Industry Strategy in 2012, following the approval of the strategy by the ministry through Local Enterprise Authority (LEA).

LEA CEO, Dr Racious Moatshe explained that the leather industry was highly technical and needed specialized expertise and experience both at construction and operational stages.  He explained that it was under that backdrop that necessary and thorough pre-preparatory work needed to be undertaken before actual construction. Moatshe explained that the Project will entail development of a common effluent Treatment Plant, Sewage Treatment Plant, operation of Tanneries an swell as manufacturing of leather products.

MITI Minister, Bogolo Kenewendo said that the Ministry had made significant strides in ensuring that the much anticipated Leather Park that is intended to take advantage of abundant leather from thousands of cattle slaughtered in that town take off. 
“There are ongoing consultations with relevant authorities and stakeholders such as Ministry of Agriculture, Botswana Power Corporation, Water Utilities Corporation, and Slaughter Facilities under Lobatse Town Council as well as Hide & Skin Collectors,” she said.

Kenewendo added that the park was a very complex project that needs prior consultation with all involved stakeholders anticipated to take part in the entire leather processing value chain. “The Consultation process is meant to address availability and quality of raw materials, capacity building and provision of utilities, this is a continuous process which will continue until the park is ready to operate,” she asserted.  

The minister further highlighted that the detailed designs will be submitted to relevant authorities for assessment by the end of this month. She also revealed that her Ministry through the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZs) is in process to recruit the suitable Chief Executive Officer to run the park. “We are currently at short listing stage and the successful candidate will be tasked with scouting and sourcing funds for the construction of the park from both domestic and external capital.”

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Matsheka seeks raise bond program ceiling to P30 billion

14th September 2020
Dr Matsheka

This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.

“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.

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Lucara sits clutching onto its gigantic stones with bear claws in a dark pit

14th September 2020
Lesedi La Rona

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.

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Botswana Diamonds issues 50 000 000 shares to raise capital

14th September 2020

Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.

A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.

Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.

In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.

The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.

In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.

Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.

The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”

In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.

Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.

The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.

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