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Mining conference to make landmark debut in Lesotho

Business

Ntsoaki Motaung

Lesotho is gearing up to host its first-ever Mining conference, set to take place on April 25 and 26 this year, a significant milestone following the country’s debut attendance at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, last year.

Tando Mandela, Founder and Managing Director of Mining Indaba Khotla, emphasised the significance of bringing the event to Lesotho, stating that bringing it to Lesotho serves to further cement the country as a key player in the mining sector.

Under the theme ‘The future of mining in a global landscape,’ the conference aims not only to showcase Lesotho’s mining potential but also to address the chronic challenges faced by the sector.

Mandela stressed the importance of confronting these challenges head-on, stating: “It is only through tackling the problem head-on that Lesotho can continue to attract investors that will ultimately play a key role in the growth of the sector.”

Mandela highlighted Lesotho’s significant contributions to the global mining industry, particularly in producing high-quality diamonds.

She noted: “The country does not only produce quality diamonds but also high-quality sandstones, basalt, and dolerite which can be used in the construction industry.”

Mandela stated that diamonds, in particular, have played a crucial role in Lesotho’s economic development, pointing out that diamond exports accounted for three percent of the country’s total exports in 2011, a substantial increase from 0.1 percent in 2002.

“Currently, diamond exports and the mining sector contribute 10 percent to Lesotho’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), primarily driven by four operational diamond mines: Letseng Diamond, Storm Mountain Diamonds, Liqholobong Diamond, and Mothae Diamond Mine,” she said.

Despite Lesotho’s mineral wealth, Mandela acknowledged the persistent poverty faced by many of its citizens, emphasising the need for partnerships that benefit local communities.

She stated: “A situation that can be turned around through partnerships with stakeholders that will invest in the mining opportunities in Lesotho with the view of benefiting locals as well. This can take the form of job opportunities and the creation of new industries.”

Meanwhile, Refiloe ‘Mamokhantšo Nkune, Public Relations Officer of Lesotho Women In Mining Association (LEWIMA), highlighted the dynamic discussions and networking opportunities promised by the Mining Indaba Khotla.

Nkune also disclosed that LEWIMA will also host its official launch gala on the evening of April 25.

LEWIMA is a membership-based organization geared towards representing and promoting the rights of women miners; and enhancing the participation and economic empowerment of women across the vast landscape of mining, both formal and informal, in Lesotho.

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