Diamonds and copper largest contributors to the decline
The mining sector which is the largest contributor to the country’s GDP continues to suffer a big blow as the global demand for minerals continues to shrink amidst low prices, Statistics Botswana has said.
The latest Index of Mining released indicates that production stood at 98.5 in the second quarter of 2015, showing a negative year-on year growth of 7.6 percent. Statistics Botswana notes that the significant decline was largely influenced by the slowing down of diamond production growth.
According to the data, the two largest contributors to the slump in growth of mining production were diamonds contributing negative 4.6 percentage points and copper in concentrates contributing negative 4.1 percentage points.
Diamond production declined for the third consecutive quarter, decreasing by 5.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015 as compared to a decline of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2014.
“This decline is mainly attributable to the weakening demand for diamonds in the global market. The first quarter of 2015 had registered a decline of 2.5 percent in production,” stated the report.
Also, Copper in concentrates production decreased by 69.7 percent in the second quarter of 2015. This is the second decline following a 23.3 percent decrease recorded in the first quarter of 2015.
“The drop is largely attributable to the liquidation in one of the copper producing mines, which is currently not producing owing to reorganization following new management take over,” Statistics Botswana notes.
However, Copper-Nickle-Cobalt Matte production rose by 43.3 percent in the second quarter of 2015 marking the third consecutive quarter of positive growth. The statistics agency says the increase for the quarter was realized despite the weak international copper prices which subsequently affected both matte and concentrates. The first quarter of 2015 had registered 87.3 percent growth in Copper-Nickle-Cobalt matte production.
Likewise, Gold production registered a fifth consecutive decline during the second quarter of 2015, having recorded a decline of 33.0 percent. However, the decline is said to be of lower magnitude when compared with the first quarter of 2015 when production had decreased by 46.3 percent. This decline is attributable to weak demand as well.
Similarly, Soda Ash production growth decreased by 54.2 percent in the second quarter of 2015 as compared to the second quarter of 2014. The decline has been attributed to the to the planned plant refurbishment which resulted in zero production in the third month of the quarter. During the first quarter of 2015, Soda Ash production declined by 32.6 percent.
Salt production declined by 62.5 percent in the second quarter of 2015 as compared to the corresponding quarter of 2014. The decline in production was attributable to the planned plant refurbishment which resulted in zero production in the third month of the quarter. Comparison of the second quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of the same year shows a decline of 10.3 percent.
Recording the worst performance was Silver production which recorded zero growth during the second quarter of 2015. This is attributed to the shutdown of the mining operations following liquidation of the company.
Coal production increased by 9.0 percent in the second quarter of 2015 as compared to the corresponding quarter of 2014. The Statistics body says Coal production increased despite operational challenges that were realized at the Morupule Power Plant. Some of the coal produced was sold to the international market.
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.
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.
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.