Jwaneng Mine, the world richest mine by value, will continue to anchor both Debswana and De Beers.
In the first half of 2017, Cut-8 delivered its first ore for Jwaneng, catapulting the mine to ‘super-pit’ status. The cut 8 will come to an end in 2029, paving way for mining of ore to begin at Cut-9. Cut-9 project, which commenced in 2019 will reach its bottleneck in 2027, two years before the end of ore production at Cut 8. The Jwaneng Cut 9 will extend the life of the mine to 2035 with 80% plant ore feed expected from 2029. Currently stripping of waste for Cut-9 is ongoing, undertaken by Naledi Mining Services, a 100% subsidiary of Debswana.
Beyond 2035 Jwaneng will be an underground operation. Debswana this week announced that its Board has approved the commencement of the Jwaneng Underground Project’s crucial phase, the Exploration Access Development at a cost of P13.6 Billion
The Jwaneng Underground Project is implemented in four phases; being, Early Works (which started in 2022); Exploration Access Development, Phase 1 Mining and Phase 2 Mining. The Board’s approval for the second phase marks a significant milestone, initiating the journey towards underground mining at Jwaneng Mine. The Exploration Access Development will commence in May 2024.
The entire project is estimated to cost tens of billions of pula, to build the biggest underground diamond mine ever, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
Early Works, that is, the ongoing preparatory phase, sets the stage for essential infrastructure deployment ahead of the underground development, encompassing critical initiatives such as assembling the underground mine rescue team and reinforcing safety measures.
The Exploration Access Development phase aims to achieve two primary objectives. Firstly, to establish a drilling platform facilitating comprehensive sampling and evaluation of the kimberlite pipes via diamond extraction at 1,000 metres below ground level.
Secondly, this phase lays the groundwork for Phase 1 Mining, forming the essential backbone infrastructure for forthcoming stages of the project. The Exploration Access will be developed by an Underground Development Contractor.
Emmah Peloetletse, Permanent Secretary to the President and Debswana Board Chairperson, emphasised the strategic approach adopted by the project, highlighting that, “the phased implementation strategy ensures the uninterrupted evolution of Jwaneng Mine beyond Cut 9, presently projected to conclude in 2033. What is important to underscore is that this Board approval, and commencement of such work that progresses developments to underground phase, is not only a significant milestone for the company but is also a momentous occasion for our nation and shareholders as it sets a longer-term future for Debswana. The future prosperity of Debswana hinges upon the progression of the Jwaneng Underground Project. With approximately 70% of Debswana’s profits and distributions attributable to Jwaneng, extending its Life of Mine beyond 2033 is pivotal for sustaining contributions to the shareholders.”
De Beers Group CEO and Debswana Deputy Board Chairperson, Al Cook, expressed the importance of this decision, stating that,”Jwaneng stands proudly as theworld’s greatest diamondmine andis a central pillar of both the Botswana economy and the De Beers Group’s business. Investing in underground operations is therefore fundamentally important to the future of Botswana as a nation, to the long-term ambitions of the De Beers Group, and to the supply outlook for the global diamond industry. We are proud to work in partnership with the Botswana Government as we progress this crucial first phase of investment to develop this outstanding operation in support of a bright future for Debswana.”
Since 1982 when Jwaneng Mine started operating, it has produced 443.06 million carats, which translates to an annual average of 10.8 million carats. Currently the mine employs 2,100 employees, and 3,200 contractors.
Debswana conducted feasibility studies which sought to evaluate various viable underground mining alternatives in order to recover maximum value from the remaining resources below Cut 9, and produce diamonds at steady state from 2034, sustain production and distributions to shareholders.
The studies indicated that mining Cut 10 as an open pit would not be economically viable. The studies further indicated reserves for Phase 1 mining and that mining Phase 1 as an Underground Mine will be economically viable.
Study work on Phase 2 (indicated resource) can only be concluded once more information is gathered from the planned drilling and bulk sampling that will be done as part of the Exploration Access Development.
Andrew Motsomi, Managing Director of Debswana, added: “The studies conducted and ultimately approved by the Board presented options of a realistic, modern, viable underground mine based on latest proven technology, novel mining engineering approaches, and safe underground mine designs and practices. This is a major achievement under our current business strategy. The current strategy that ends at the end of 2024, has focused on transformation and transitioning the mines, and business as a whole, for a sustainably successful future. Beyond 2024, the business intends to set the stage for further growth to boost shareholder returns, which will help our national development. Debswana is also preparing its own employees to obtain future skills required for these developments. We aim to continue mining safely,sustainably, ethically and optimally.” Debswana says it remains steadfast in its dedication to responsible mining practices, economic sustainability, and contributing to Botswana’s continued growth and prosperity.
In today’s digital age, banking is no longer just about visiting a branch during business hours. It’s about putting you, the customer, in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. But what exactly is self-service banking, and how do you stand to benefit from it as a customer?
Self-service banking is all about giving you the power to manage your finances on your terms. Whether you want to check your account balance at midnight, transfer money while on vacation, or deposit cash without waiting in line, self-service banking makes it possible. It’s like having a virtual branch at your fingertips, ready to assist you 24/7.
This shift towards self-service banking was catalyzed by various factors but it became easily accessible and accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all ages found themselves turning to digital channels out of necessity, and they discovered the freedom and flexibility it offers.
Anyone with a bank account and access to the internet or a smartphone can now bank anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or someone who’s less comfortable with technology, you as the customer have the opportunity to manage your finances independently through online banking portal or downloading your bank’s mobile app. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with features like biometric authentication to ensure your transactions are secure.
Speaking of security, you might wonder how safe self-service banking really is. Banks invest heavily in encryption and other security measures to protect your information. In addition to that, features like real-time fraud detection and AI-powered risk management add an extra layer of protection.
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch? Does self-service banking come with a cost?” The good news is that for the most part, it’s free. Banks offer these digital services as part of their commitment to customer satisfaction. However, some transactions, like wire transfers or expedited bill payments, may incur a small service fee.
At Bank Gaborone, our electronic channels offer a plethora of services around the clock to cater to your banking requirements. This includes our Mobile App, which doesn’t require data access for Orange and Mascom users. We also have e-Pula Internet Banking portal, available at https://www.bankgaborone.co.bw as well as Tobetsa Mobile Banking which is accessible via *187*247#. Our ATMs also offer the flexibility of allowing you to deposit, withdraw cash, and more.
With self-service banking, you have the reins of your financial affairs, accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace, or while you’re on the move. So why wait? Take control of your finances today with self-service banking.
Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy is Head: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services
Botswana has recently recorded a significant trade deficit of over P6 billion. This trade deficit, which occurred in November 2023, follows another deficit of P4.7 billion recorded in October of the same year. These figures, released by Statistics Botswana, highlight a decline in export revenues as the main cause of the trade deficit.
In November 2023, Botswana’s total export revenues amounted to P2.9 billion, a decrease of 24.3 percent from the previous month. Diamonds, a major contributor to Botswana’s exports, experienced a significant decline of 44.1 percent during this period. This decline in diamond exports played a significant role in the overall decrease in export revenues. However, diamonds still remained the leading export commodity group, contributing 44.2 percent to export revenues. Copper and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed, contributing 25.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
Asia emerged as the leading export market for Botswana, receiving exports worth P1.18 billion in November 2023. The United Arab Emirates, China, and Hong Kong were the top destinations within Asia, receiving 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent, and 3.8 percent of total exports, respectively. Diamonds and Copper were the major commodity groups exported to Asia.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) received Botswana’s exports worth P685.7 million, with South Africa being the main recipient within SACU. The European Union (EU) received exports worth P463.2 million, primarily through Belgium. Australia received exports worth P290 million, while the United States received exports valued at P69.6 million, mostly composed of diamonds.
On the import side, Botswana imported goods worth P9.5 billion in November 2023, representing an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous month. The increase in imports was mainly driven by a rise in Diamonds and Chemicals & Rubber Products imports. Diamonds contributed 23.3 percent to total imports, followed by Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco at 19.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.
The SACU region was the top supplier of imports to Botswana, accounting for 77.7 percent of total imports. South Africa contributed the largest share at 57.2 percent, followed by Namibia at 20.0 percent. Imports from Asia accounted for 9.8 percent of total imports, with Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Chemicals & Rubber Products being the major commodity groups imported. The EU supplied Botswana with imports worth 3.2 percent of total imports, primarily in the form of Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Diamonds, and Chemicals & Rubber Products.
Botswana’s recent trade deficit of over P6 billion highlights a decline in export revenues, particularly in the diamond sector. While Asia remains the leading export market for Botswana, the country heavily relies on imports from the SACU region, particularly South Africa. Addressing the trade deficit will require diversification of export markets and sectors, as well as efforts to promote domestic industries and reduce reliance on imports.
The business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). The survey collected information from businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and finance, among others. The results of the survey indicate that businesses expect trading conditions to improve in the first quarter of 2024 and remain favorable throughout the year.
The researchers found that firms anticipate improvements in investment, profitability, and goods and services exported in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. These expectations, combined with anticipated growth in all sectors except construction and real estate, contribute to the overall confidence in business conditions. Furthermore, businesses expect further improvements in the first quarter of 2024 and throughout the entire year.
Confidence among domestic market-oriented firms may decline slightly in the first quarter of 2024, but overall optimism is expected to improve throughout the year, consistent with the anticipated domestic economic recovery. Firms in sectors such as mining, retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance are driving this confidence. Export-oriented firms also show increased optimism in the first quarter of 2024 and for the entire year.
All sectors, except agriculture, which remains neutral, are optimistic about the first quarter of 2024 and the year ending in December 2024. This optimism is likely supported by government interventions to support economic activity, including the two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and reforms aimed at improving the business environment. The anticipated improvement in profitability, goods and services exported, and business investment further contributes to the positive outlook.
Firms expect lending rates and borrowing volumes to increase in the 12-month period ending in December 2024. This increase in borrowing is consistent with the expected rise in investment, inventories, and goods and services exported. Firms anticipate that domestic economic performance will improve during this period. Domestic-oriented firms perceive access to credit from commercial banks in Botswana to be relaxed, while export-oriented firms prefer to borrow from South Africa.
During the fourth quarter of 2023, firms faced high cost pressures due to increased input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport, resulting from supply constraints related to conflicts in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas. According to the survey report, the firms noted that cost pressures during the fourth quarter of 2023 were high, mainly attributable to increase in some input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport arising from supply constraints related to the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars. “However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased, compared to the previous survey, and have remained within the Bank’s 3 – 6 percent objective range, averaging 5.4 percent for 2023 and 5.4 percent for 2024. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is good for maintenance of price stability,” reads the survey report in part.
However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased compared to the previous survey, and inflation expectations remained within the Bank’s objective range of 3-6 percent. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is beneficial for maintaining price stability.
In terms of challenges, most firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors considered the exchange rate of the Pula to be unfavorable to their business operations. This is mainly because these firms import raw materials from South Africa and would prefer a stronger Pula against the South African rand. Additionally, firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, and mining sectors cited other challenges, including supply constraints from conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, as well as new citizen economic empowerment policies that some firms considered unfavorable to foreign direct investment.
On the positive side, firms highlighted factors such as adequate water and electricity supply, a favorable political climate, an effective regulatory framework, the availability of skilled labor, and domestic and international demand as supportive to doing business in Botswana during the fourth quarter of 2023.
Overall, the business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024. The anticipated improvements in trading conditions, supported by government interventions and reforms, are expected to drive growth and profitability in various sectors. While challenges exist, businesses remain confident in the potential for economic recovery and expansion.