Giving an insight into Debswana’s Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy (CEEP) recently, the General Manager of Jwaneng Mine, Koolatose Koolatose, said the mining company does not anticipate any shortcomings in its implementation of the initiative to accelerate citizen participation in the Debswana supply chain.
Koosaletse was speaking to the media at a symposium hosted by Jwaneng Mine at the world’s leading diamond mining town. While CEEP is expected to result in local beneficiation as Debswana shifts some of its annual spend to locally-owned enterprises, concerns of job losses have arisen as the mining giant terminates lucrative contracts with multinational corporations, compelling them to retrench. Another concern has been about funding and gaps in skills that exist as local contactors attempt to fill in the stead of their experienced international counterparts.
Addressing these concerns, Koolatose told the media that all risk assessments undertaken by Debswana have showed that CEEP is a good initiative that will ultimately result in 100 percent beneficiation and citizen empowerment. “Otherwise we would not have embarked on the programme,” he said. “We intend to take a watchful responsibility for those local companies which are at least at 70 percent capacity and guide them to success. “While we are still importing skills, knowledge and products in cases where local companies are lacking, this will also change in the long term.”
He spoke of an alignment of tenders with the CEEP requirement for its contracts to go to 100 percent citizen owned entities, at phase one of the programme. The second phase of CEEP will see Debswana enhancing and accelerating Botswana’s manufacturing industry to meet the needs of the mining parastatal and ultimately eliminate importation of machinery. Debswana’s Senior Transformation and Innovation Manager, Ndibo Macheke, noted that the mining company has a target of P20 billion citizen spend by 2024 and creating 20 000 jobs, saying these goals will be used to measure the success of the programme.
“To address the challenge of funds and skills gaps, we have collaborated with banks to avail capital to citizen-owned companies participating in CEEP,” she said. “Through the Supplier Development Programme (SDP), we have been able to capacitate and train our suppliers.” According to Debswana, drilling, tyre Management, Crushed rock, Mining equipment leasing, transport/bussing, catering, hospitality, landscape, security as well as a camp clinic all have 100 percent citizen contractors in place while provision of explosives has a contract in place with CEEP.
Contracts with Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) are still pursuing CEEP with shovel maintenance. OEM are provided by Barloworld Botswana, Truck Komatsu Botswana, Drill Rig Maintenance OEM – Epiroc Botswana while PUMA Botswana is doing the fuel supply. The Jwaneng Media Symposium brought together the media and Jwaneng Mine executives in an effort to foster mutually constructive relations to share the contribution by Jwaneng Mine to Botswana’s economy with the media, and to explain mitigation of impacts – actual or perceived – of mining operations.