Minerals and Energy Minister, Lefoko Moagi has announced that the government has since formalized its mineral policy, adopted by parliament last year, as a sign of subscribing to sustainable mining.
In his keynote address during the launch of the Botswana Ash (BOTASH) (Pty) Ltd 2023-2027 strategy at Sowa, Moagi said the policy provides strategic direction on the management and development of the country’s finite mineral resources in a compact and easily accessible manner.
“Emerging issues such as beneficiation and value addition, citizen economic empowerment and local participation as well as the use of technology to produce synthetic mineral products are some of the issues the policy addresses,” he said. The objective of the policy is to maximise national benefits from minerals exploitation while providing a competitive and rewarding environment for investors, said Moagi. He said Botswana is committed to ensuring adherence to environmental and other sustainability imperatives in accordance with the law and best practice.
Moagi said a strategy which aligns to policy imperatives such as this one is most welcome with COVID-19’s impact and that of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict having heightened global economic uncertainty. “It is, therefore, imperative that governments and companies re-imagine economic growth paths and sustainability of businesses to shield themselves from future economic shocks,” said Moagi. According to Moagi, this is particularly critical for the mining sector in Botswana, as mining is still the mainstay of the Botswana’s economy. “By coming up with a new strategy, Botswana Ash is well on its way,” he said.
For his part, the Botswana Ash Managing Director, Kangangwani Phatshwane said the mine’s 2018-2022 strategic business window was contextualized by a variety of challenges. “A decade long energy crisis in southern Africa and deteriorating rail logistics coupled by COVID-19 are some of the challenges which characterized the 2018-2022 strategic business window,” he said.
Phatshwane said the Russian-Ukrainian war and energy crisis in western Europe triggering hyperinflation – a development that made it difficult for Botswana Ash to attain the desired results financially. However, Botswana Ash’s strong footprint in the SADC region kept the mining entity afloat registering a 12 percent and 6 percent in both soda ash and fine salt production growth respectively.