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Ghaghoo Mine acquisition stalled

Ghaghoo Mine

The highly anticipated resuscitation of Ghaghoo Mine, previously operated by Gem Diamonds, will now be stalled for a little longer because a key partner in the deal has pulled out of the transaction. 

The Board of Botswana Diamond PLC in August 2021 announced that Okwa Diamonds Pty Ltd, its joint venture with Vast Resources plc  in which BOD has an initial 10% carried interest, had conditionally agreed to acquire Gem Diamonds Botswana Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gem Diamonds Ltd, for a cash consideration of US$4 million(over P45 million). Gem Diamonds’ primary asset is the fully permitted Ghaghoo diamond mine in central Botswana which is currently under care and maintenance.

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, VAST was responsible for funding Okwa with the first US$15 million (around P160 million) of funding required for the purposes of carrying out due diligence, acquiring Gem Diamonds Botswana and placing the Ghaghoo mine back into production.

Completion was subject to a number of conditions (with a long stop date of  31 January 2022) including relevant regulatory and competition authority approvals within Botswana which have now been fulfilled and written approvals have been obtained from the Competition Authority and, most recently in December 2021, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Energy and Technology of the Government of the Republic of Botswana.

On Monday 1st February 2022, Botswana Diamonds PLC (BOD) announced in an update to the market that VAST has pulled out of the deal. “VAST has informed the Boards of BOD and Gem Diamonds that they do not intend to proceed with the transaction” reads a statement from Botswana Diamonds PLC.

However still in the statement rays of hope emerged again when BOD revealed that the company’s board has identified alternative potential partners to replace VAST as its joint venture partner in Okwa and has confirmed to Gem Diamonds its commitment to conclude the transaction as originally envisaged as soon as possible.

BOD says together with VAST and Gem Diamonds they are working together towards a mutually beneficial outcome and have agreed to extend the long stop date under the sale agreement from 31 January 2022 to 31 March 2022 to allow BOD to secure an alternative joint venture partner.  However the resuscitation of the Ghaghoo mine might take a little longer as the new partner replacing VAST in the Okwa joint venture may require further approval from the relevant regulatory authorities within the Government of Botswana

BOD acquired its 10% carried interest in Okwa in consideration of the services it has provided to Okwa, says it does not currently have a funding commitment to Okwa nor does it currently intend to provide further funding under its earn-in arrangements. Under the Okwa Joint Veture BOD’s interest will be accounted for as an investment, while BOD will be appointed (subject to agreement of the relevant documentation) as the operator of the Ghaghoo mine, the operational team will be directly employed by Okwa and BOD may recharge identified executive management costs to Okwa.

A resource estimate for Ghaghoo was prepared by Venmyn with an effective date of 1 January 2014 which reported SAMREC compliant Indicated Resource based on which the Ghaghoo deposit is estimated to contain 20.5 million carats at a value likely to be in excess of $200 a carat. The mine and plant, currently on care and maintenance, has an output capacity of between 300,000 and 400,000 carats a year.

The mine operated for a short period of time but a combination of lower diamond prices and operational difficulties with water and sand ingress led to a shutdown. BOD has done extensive due diligence and believes that the difficulties with sand and water can be handled and that changes to operating equipment such as solar power instead of diesel and new diamond sorting technology can make the mine cash positive. It is expected that the acquisition should complete in the early part of 2022.

Business

Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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