Monday, April 22, 2024
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Maseru

Close to 100 illegal diamonds recovered

Business

Ntsoaki Motaung

The Ministry of Mining has conducted a project in which they have so far collected close to 100 illegal diamonds from Basotho across the country.

This was disclosed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Mining ‘Makananelo Motseko, stating that the most collection was done in the Maseru district.

“The most collection was done in Maseru district followed by Botha- Bothe and then Leribe and Mokhotlong as part of the project,” she said.

This follows the bill released by the government of Lesotho to prevent the illicit selling and theft of diamonds.

Motseko indicated that the amnesty bill was released in November 2020 and will come to an end by the end of January 2021.

“For the first time when the bill was released the ministry announced to the public that all people who have diamonds with them, but have no licences with them should hand them over to the ministry and they will not be prosecuted,” she said.

Motseko said according to their researchers they discovered that those diamonds are floating in the black market. She said some of those who have so far handed them over to the ministry said they dug those diamonds years back at mines.

The PRO indicated that the auction of the diamonds will be conducted in February in Maseru district where Basotho and other foreign buyers will be allowed to buy the diamonds.

“The government is only entitled to take 4% of the auction price while the owners are subjected to the remaining 96%. Issuing of diamonds dealers licenses to venture into Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) will then follow after the auction as soon as parliament has passed the bill and amended the ASM. The parliament was closed before the amendment was done,” she said.

She said diamond dealers’ licences will also offer small scale miners the platform to trade with international buyers.

Motseko said the movement is intended to allow ASM to start on a clean slate without the presence of illicit diamonds that the government will not be able to trace. ffffffff

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