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KAO mine equips small businesses with skills


Ntsoaki Motaung

July 01, 2022

The Storm Mountain Diamonds held a one-day forum to school its surrounding communities on business skills yesterday in Butha-Buthe.

The forum which was organised by the diamond company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) arm was designed to equip business owners of villages around the Kao mine with knowledge on how to run businesses in a profitable and sustainable manner.

A representative from KAO CRS programme ‘Malehlohonolo Mojaki said the forum is intended to provide guidance on key and critical issues and skills which are required for small businesses to operate in a profitable and sustainable manner.

“The forum is also meant to present an opportunity for the businesses to network with other entrepreneurs and share experiences and lessons learned,” she said.

Mojaki indicated that, all efforts are meant to equip the KAO community with skills that will be beneficial to the community even after the mine is closed in 30 years.

She stated that, already there are businesses from the KAO community that provide services as well as their products to the mine but the CRS programmes looks to prepare those businesses for outside competition.

Lebohang Lefela from Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) said most of the businesses nose-dive due owners’ illiteracy and lack of business acumen.

He explained that BEDCO helps Basotho with skills to start a business, get it registered or licensed, research on the markets and run it until it is stable.

He said BEDCO has a number of projects or programmes that help Basotho to start their businesses which include; the Smart Youth Fund project, BEDCO Capacity Building Program as well as the Youth Business Plan Competition.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Liaison Officer, Sepiriti Motanyane said they operate under the Business Registration and Business Licensing Act of 2019 that has made it easy for businesses to get registered as well as getting licenses.

He encouraged all business people to get their businesses registered so that they can be in a position to get help as well as working together to make it easy for the ministry to provide trainings.

On the same forum Shishila Shishila from KAO community asked the Ministry of Trade how they can help because the Wool and Mohair business has been falling since 2017 when farmers were forced to sell their product in the country.

“We have been encountering problems in terms of getting our money or getting less than one would expect. We plead to the government to do something to help a lot of us to regain our confidence in the business industry,” he said.  

Storm Mountain Diamonds (Pty) Ltd (SMD) operates Kao Mine in the District of Botha Bothe.

This is the fourth largest kimberlite pipe in Southern Africa – and the largest kimberlite pipe in Lesotho – from a coverage perspective at 19.8 hectares, with an indicated and inferred resource base of 12.7 million carats. Kao’s pipe has been explored and confirmed to a depth of 500m. The mine has approximately 18 years of operation left.

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