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Wilderness Safaris to procure more local products

Wilderness Safaris’ Botswana Managing Director, Kim Nixon has revealed that they intend to get the community to be more involved in production of supplies currently being imported from neighbouring countries like South Africa.

While the company does use products and services from local suppliers, the company is of the view that it can do more to create employment in other sectors which are not necessarily in the line of ecotourism. The main project that Wilderness wants to focus on is soap production. They intend to involve community trusts in this business so that they run it. “Our main role will be to provide them with captive market,” Nixon revealed. He pointed out that Wilderness Safaris in Botswana spends in excess of P1 million annually in procurement of soap. He said if they are to include other concessions and accessories the figure to go to over P3 million annually.

According to Nixon they could get soap companies to collaborate and ensure that they supply the tourism industry in Botswana with these soaps and related products. The Wilderness Safaris Managing Director – Botswana indicated that they are currently working with the Okavango Community Trust (OCT) in Sankoyo to identify four people who will be sent to South Africa for training. “As soon as they complete the training we will bring them back home to start the soap production company,” he said.

Wilderness Safaris will put money into the business and arrange a proper facility through which the money will be repaid as soon as the business is up and running. “The biggest problem with community projects has been financial mismanagement hence we are prepared to get our experts to help run these businesses until community people are ready to take up the lead operationally,” Nixon said.

Nixon further indicated they are currently sourcing most of their soap from South Africa and “it would nice to spend all this money in the local market.”  However he revealed that there are some products they are already procuring locally. He said two companies in Maun are already supplying them with Lettice and Cucumber, “we are determined to support the local community.” Furthermore boats they currently using for their guests are sourced from Ali Boats and another company.

Wilderness Safaris uses Land Rover 4x4s for game drives and the vehicles are procured locally and re-designed by a local company in Maun. Wilderness spends almost P700 000 on each of the vehicles which are spread to the different camps in Botswana. According to Nixon there is another opportunity in the trucking business which he said local truckers should take advantage of. “We transport a lot of supplies to the camp sites on a regular business hence there is need for transport in this business.

We want reliable companies to transport our supplies to the campsites. We do carry even perishables and we do not want a truck to break down with such supplies frequently, it will hurt our business. We need reliable truckers who will ensure our supplies reach our campsites,” he said. Wilderness Holdings had its formal beginnings in Botswana in 1983. As a Botswana company, listed on the Botswana stock Exchange, with a secondary inward listing on the JSE Limited, Wilderness wants to make sound investment in local communities.

The company acts as the investment holding vehicle for the business. The Company operates on 622 000 hectares of land in Botswana.  Wilderness is also involved in helping villages that surround its concessions through the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) policy.

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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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