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Aviation Company to set up in Selibe Phikwe

Brite Star Aviation, an aircraft company from USA is set to establish in Selebi Phikwe and brighten the darkened economic cloud that have been hanging over Selebi Phikwe since the closure of BCL Limited in October last year.

The company, whose owners originate from Hungary signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with six partners being SPEDU, Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Selebi Phikwe Town Council and Ngwato Land Board on Monday in Gaborone to reflect the parties intention to collaborate and together heighten the economic diversification initiatives in Selebi Phikwe and the whole of SPEDU Region.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of Brite Star Aviation, Imre Katona noted at the signing ceremony that the company  will be responsible for the establishment of an aircraft manufacturing plant, composite manufacturing plant, aircraft service and maintenance centre, hotel and conferencing facilities, eco-safari centre and research and development centre that will include pilot and flight training academy. He said that the company will be able to create up to 3000 jobs for the region upon completion of its entire project. The manufacturing and assembly plant, the president said will be able to cater for a range of aircrafts from two seater to a 20 sweater plane.

Katona commended BITC and SPEDU for their brilliant presentations about the benefits of investing in Botswana. The presentations by the two entities have persuaded Brite Star Aviation as an investor to make the decision to establish in Botswana, hence the signing of a 10 year MOU with the six contracting partners to cement the collaboration agreements to deliver the project and revive the collapsing economy of Selebi Phikwe. Brite Star Aviation which already has an office in Gaborone has come to Botswana thanks to SPEDU and BITC.

Both BITC and SPEDU will jointly provide the necessary support relating to a One Stop Service Centre and liaise with relevant authorities such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to regularise the necessary permits for the company to operate. They two agencies will also assist Brite Star Aviation in obtaining all the approved incentives for investing in the region as well as facilitating the development of the concept and investment in regard to the infrastructure that is required and necessary for the project.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of SPEDU, Dr Mokubung Mokubung the project shall be undertaken within a reasonable period of time and executed in phases with the initial stage comprising of the aircraft manufacturing plant and related infrastructure. SPEDU as the regional economic diversification agency shall provide the necessary support to Bright Star Aviation while also playing the role of Project Coordinator. SPEDU as a company is mandated to carry on the business of a Regional Diversification Agency that facilitates and implements strategic projects to diversify the economy of the region also called SPEDU. The SPEDU Region comprises of Selebi Phikwe being the administrative centre of the region, Bobonong, Mmadinare, and Lerala-Maunatlala political constituencies.

“As project facilitators, SPEDU’s primary role in this project is to link the project developers and all stakeholders in a historic venture to facilitate Brite Star Aviation to set up,” said Dr Mokubung Mokubung, the Chief Executive Officer of SPEDU. Dr Mokubung revealed that Brite Star Aviation “will bring its own funds to construct buildings and install machinery, thus contributing to Foreign Direct Investment in the voluntary.” Dr Mukubung stated that Brite Star Aviation’s venture in Selebi Phikwe stands as supreme demonstration of the fact that SPEDU’s mission of attracting foreign investment has come to fruition.

BITC as the national diversification and investment body is expected to jointly work with SPEDU to liaise with relevant authorities to enable the investor to operate. Speaking at the event, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BITC, Meshack Tshekedi noted that after the closure of BCL Mine, Government called on all relevant stakeholders to respond to the situation in Selebi Phikwe and that his organisation has heeded to the call. Brite Star Aviation is coming to Botswana thanks to BITC and SPEDU.

“We embarked on an automotive and aviation journey to Europe in pour quest to develop specific and customised frameworks for this industry and that is how we met Brite Star Aviation when we visited Hungary,” said Tshekedi. With all the seven contracting partners having a role to play, BIUST shall be responsible for the requisite skills capacity building in the field of Aviation Engineering through its Faculty of Engineering and Technology. The University is expected to facilitate the setting up of an engineering faculty with the view to bridging the skills gap for the aviation industry.

BIUST’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Otlogetswe Totolo noted at the signing ceremony that the university “intends to use its best efforts to provide teaching, learning and expertise in aviation studies.” He revealed that BIUST recently signed an MOU with Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise concerning collaborations developing programmes geared towards imparting the necessity knowledge and skills in the areas of aviation and aeronautical engineering. In terms of the MOU, CAAB as a civil aviation authority and regulating body in Botswana will endeavour to provide the investor with all the required support including technical support where appropriate.

CAAB will provide the investor with a 10 hectare land at the Selebi Phikwe Airport on mutually agreed terms and conditions. It will also provide aviation resources and associated services, provide usage of air space, aviation personnel to assist with technical issues as may be required by the investor and facilitation of necessary approvals in terms of licensing, regulations, approvals and other services as may be required by the investor.

CAAB is responsible for registration of air transport, providing for air navigation services, managing airports as well as advising Government on matters pertaining to all aspects of civil aviation. CAAB Chief Executive Officer, Geoffrey Moshabesha said that the project has generated interest among the people of Botswana especially in Selebi Phikwe. He called on all the contracting partners to work hard to implement the project and ensure that it produces the intended results. Ngwato Land Board on the other hand as the land authority in the SPEDU region shall be responsible for the allocation of additional land its tribal territory adjacent to the Selebi Phikwe Airport for expansion of the project.

SPTC as the town’s administrative authority is responsible for economic revitalisation of the town and shall create an enabling business environment for Brite Star Aviation through timeous provision of relevant and requisite licences. It must also provide assistance and facilitate the development of the concept and investment in regard to the infrastructure development required for the project.

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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
Diamonds

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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