A relatively new diamond-mine, located in the heart of Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Ghaghoo mine which is a subsidiary of Gem Diamonds Botswana, has suspended operations and preparing to undergo retrenchment exercise.
Managing Director of Gem Diamonds Botswana, Haile Mphusu, confirmed to this publication that retrenchment will ensue as a result of halting of production at the mine. “We are starting process of putting the mine on care and maintenance,” Mphusu pointed out while adding that in a lay man’s view, “it means that production has stopped.” “The only work that will take place is the one aimed at preserving the assets. By all intends and purposes production has ceased,” the MD stressed.
The reasons for closing the mine he said is that the price of the type of diamonds that is mined at Ghaghoo has weakened and “we are continuing to lose money.” He pointed out that most employees will be cut but of course not all will lose jobs, others will remain to keep the asset in state so that when prices of diamonds recovers, mining can start.
“We have around 183 employees in Botswana who work for Gem Diamonds Botswana that owns Ghaghoo mine. We also have around 115 that we outsourced to other companies. In the process of care and maintenance, only around 30 to 40 employees will remain to take care of the assets. Therefore around 250 will lose jobs,” he highlighted to this publication.
According to Mphusu, shareholders cannot continue to subsidies the mine. Gem Diamonds, the leading producer of high-value diamonds, owns both the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana. Its client base comprises of prominent diamantaires and manufacturers from the world’s major diamond centers which are New York, Belgium, Israel, India, China, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Switzerland.
Basically Gem Diamonds Botswana mine has not been making profits for 5 years now and it is said to have been supported by its sister mine, Letšeng in Lesotho during that time. Now, that Letšeng is said to be struggling as well, Gem Diamonds Botswana was forced to close down Ghaghoo mine because they cannot support the two operations that are both struggling.
Mphusu stated that, diamond is not like gold, it depends on the quality, size and type of diamonds that you mine. The mine started operations in 2011 and has been engulfed by loses over the years due to the low prices of diamonds. He added that last year, the organization underwent restructuring exercise in which it was trying to keep some jobs with the hope that price of diamond will recover in 2016, but it did not happen.
Reports indicate that other attempts by international Gem Diamonds to extend its operations beyond Botswana and Lesotho have been unsuccessful, with the sale of the Ellendale mine in Australia for $15m in 2012, and the closure of the Cempaka alluvial mine in Indonesia in 2008. Exploration efforts in Angola and elsewhere in Africa also said to have been unsuccessful.
Inside sources suggest that, Mphusu’s talk is candy coated because the reality of the matter is that, Ghaghoo mine closed down its doors of operation on Thursday this week following organization’s projection of uncertainty into the future. “Mine closed down today. It’s official. The mine has now been placed under care and maintenance. Management is saying this is because of downfall in diamond sales that went down in December 2016. And because the type of diamonds that are mined in CKGR are struggling in the market – it’s unlikely for them to recover anytime soon,” a highly placed source linked to the mine, who alerted the publication on the development revealed.
He however alleges that part of the reason that led to mine closure was poor management. “The mine was not planned well. Their underground mining method was not executed well. The timing was wrong, they rushed for production and it caught up with them. Their plant also hasn’t been doing well since implementation,” the sourced explained. The company retrenched about 250 workers in March last year to scale down production, the immaculate source, further highlighted to this publication.
Ghaghoo mine, the first underground mine in Botswana, was instigated in 2011 following the Botswana government’s controversial forceful eviction of Basarwa from their homeland in the CKGR to pave way for the mine under dubious circumstances.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.