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Small-scale mining to resume in Sekamaneng

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MASERU – A diamond mine right in the centre of Sekamaneng, just 10km away from Maseru. In the next few months, hundreds of youths who had struggled to eke a living because of joblessness will now be able to engage in lucrative diamond mining projects in Sekamaneng.

Last Thursday, Mining Commissioner Pheello Tjatja told the media that the ministry intends to issue 110 licences to allow the resumption of small-scale diamond mining in the area.
The project is expected to create 500 new jobs in the sector.

Village chiefs in Sekamaneng will conduct the licence registration process. Tjatja said kimberlite was discovered in Sekamaneng, which signifies that there could be a lot of diamonds in the area.

“The government has been working tirelessly to attract investors in that area,” Tjatja said.

“There are more places in the country where kimberlite has been discovered,” he said.

“However, the government failed to attract investors in such places.”

This is not the first time that mining operations will take place in Sekamaneng. In 2005, the government shut down small-scale mining operations following environmental damage to the area.

Tjatja said in 2020 the government reviewed its policies that have now paved way for a resumption of the mining operations. He said the project could help Lesotho roll back poverty in the country.

He said the resumption of small-scale mining can boost the mining sector and the economy. Tjatja said the government realised that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted the sector massively with Basotho mine workers in South Africa being retrenched.

“We reviewed the policy and allowed Basotho to operate small-scale mining,” he said.

He said the ministry is in the process of selecting more such places and setting platforms for Basotho. Tjatja said the empowerment programme will be launched in Sekamaneng first.

He said not less than 110 licenses of 100 square metres will be issued. He said people will be allowed to work with others within a licensed area and they are expecting more than 500 people to work in that place.

“The government is planning to assist Basotho with the diamond fining machines,” he said.

“The government will also provide training for people who acquired the licences.”

He said they will further send their representatives to record diamonds discovered.  Tjatja said according to the constitution, all diamonds belong to every Mosotho in the country.

The Small-Scale Mining Committee representative, ’Mamakamane Makamane, said this has been a long journey for Basotho to embark into small-scale mining.

“This marks a great milestone where Sekamaneng has been assigned as the first place for diamond mining operations,” Makamane said.

“For a very long time, Lesotho has been listed among under-developed countries despite that it is rich in natural resources,” she said.

“Basotho should first prepare their mindset to fully participate in that kind of mining.”

She said Basotho should set targets to grow from small-scale to big mining operations. She urged Basotho to venture into this sector not only to grow their families but to also develop their areas.

Local chief, Chieftainess ’Makhomo Makoanyane, said the initiative will help in the development of their area. Chieftainess Makoanyane said the community needs basic services such as clinics which will allow villagers to access services nearer.

Refiloe Mpobole

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Directorate suspends applications to build access roads

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MASERU – THE Roads Directorate has suspended applications for the building of access roads to businesses and private homes along several main roads in Maseru.

The Directorate told a press conference on Friday that several businesses and filling stations including private homes along the main roads in the city will be affected.

The Directorate’s Director of Road Network Learning, Khasapane Kikine, said they are yet to talk to the owners of the buildings about the development.

Roads from which businesses and private homes alongside them could possibly need access roads include the Kingsway from the main traffic circle to Basotho Shield where it joins the Mpilo Boulevard.

The other road is A1, generally referred to as the Main North 1, from the main traffic circle to the National Abattoir in Khubetsoana.

Also the A2, known as the Main South 1, from the main traffic circle to Masianokeng will be affected.

The other road is A6, Moshoeshoe Road, from the main traffic circle through the Maseru West Industrial Area to where it joins Kofi Annan Road in Ha-Hoohlo.

The entire A7, Kofi Annan Road, which is from Ha-Hoohlo passing through Thetsane Industrial Area to Masianokeng is also not open for access roads to connect to it.

The B20 Road, from Thabong Circle to Lakeside traffic lights, is also another road from which buildings on its sides will not connect access roads until further notice.

The B21, from Ha-Motšoeneng to Ha-Makhoathi, the B31, which is called Lancers’ Road from Mookoli to Ha-Tšosane, the B311 in Florida to where it joins the Old TY Road (B31) that runs through

Naleli to Ha-Foso and the B60, from Seputana via Lesotho Agricultural College to Maqalika Dam are roads that will be affected.

The suspension of applications started yesterday.

Kikine said the suspension will last until the Ministry of Local Government has completed the Land Use Plan (Maseru 2050 Master Plan) or when the Roads Directorate has completed a review of the design guidelines.

Kikine said the main reason to the suspension is the increased volumes of storm water run-offs causing drainage blockages due to new access roads.

“This causes rapid deterioration of the road pavement layers which leads to development of potholes,” Kikine said.

“The current design guidelines prohibit access within a space of 500 minimums and 600 maximums respectively depending on factors of the land available.”

He said the problem is caused by increased level of traffic disruptions by traffic trails into businesses, which disrupts traffic flow.

Kikine said high level of encroachment by businesses causes loading and on and off-loading in the road reserve, which disrupts traffic flow.

He said this has increased accidents due to reduced sight distances caused by encroachments.

“The Roads Directorate has reached a decision that all existing filling stations along these roads should be re-configured to serve uni-directional traffic, as a result eliminating all right turning movements,” he said.

“As the Roads Directorate we have approached owners of the filling stations and talked to them, but we are still going to meet with them again and discuss in details the suspension of roads and how their businesses are going to be affected and whether they are willing to work hand-in-hand with us.”

Tholoana Lesenya

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2 more students win scholarships from Letšeng Diamonds

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MASERU – TWO more Basotho students last Friday received full scholarships to study mining related courses from Letšeng Diamonds.

Neo Metsing will study for a BSc Honours in Geology while Lekunutu Letela will enroll for a National Diploma in Millwright.

Letšeng Diamonds will foot the bill for their studies.

The duo joins Relebohile Malebo, Tšepo Molongoana, Sebongile Motseki, and Lebellang Tšephe who are already benefiting from the scholarships.

Phutheho Maphatšoe and Matlali Seutloali are expected to graduate soon.

Letšeng Diamonds’ boss, Kelebone Leisanyane, said each student “deserves a pat on the back for making it through the rigorous selection process of this prestigious scholarship”.

“I am confident that the level of academic guidance and support that they will receive while studying will be fulfilling and enriching,” Leisanyane said.

Leisanyane said the recipients should be grateful to their parents, guardians and their teachers for nurturing their intellectual and academic talents.

“My humble plea to you is that upon completion of your studies, you should come back and serve your communities and this nation,” he said.

“The skills and knowledge you would have acquired are needed to grow and develop the diamond mining industry in this country. I wish you the very best as you commence this important journey in your life.”

Letšeng Diamonds (Pty) Ltd said it is committed to providing scholarships to deserving Basotho in response to the need for critical skills and expertise in the diamond mining sector.

Scholarships are offered to students currently studying or interested in pursuing tertiary qualifications that are related to the development of the country’s mineral resources.

Every year, prospective students and future mining professionals from all over Lesotho are invited to apply for the scholarship.

Then a competitive and rigorous selection process follows.

The company said in the end, not only the best candidates are selected “but people who will be ambassadors of the company and the nation as a whole”.

To make sure that the students are ready for the job market, a two-year internship is offered at Letšeng Diamonds after completion of studies.

The mine says this is done to equip students with necessary skills and experience.

Permanent employment is offered to top performing students at the internship programme.

Since the inception of the Letšeng scholarships in 2006, scholarships have been awarded to 45 young Basotho, 25 of whom have been employed full-time at the mine.

The educational scholarships form part of Letšeng’s corporate social responsibility and investment programme.

The company says the aim of the programme is to foster social and economic development that will sustain communities beyond the life of the mine.

On behalf of all students, Neo Metsing said they are very grateful to Letšeng that they were able to further their studies.

She said if it was not for Letšeng they would have not have been able to study outside the country.

Natural Resources Minister, Mohlomi Moleko, said “one gets to be successful when preparedness meets opportunities”.

“We live in an infinite world and every single thought in this world can be transformed into its physical equivalent,” Moleko said.

He said he is happy for all students and wished them well.

Tholoana Lesenya

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2 more students win scholarships from Letšeng Diamonds

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on

MASERU – TWO more Basotho students last Friday received full scholarships to study mining related courses from Letšeng Diamonds.

Neo Metsing will study for a BSc Honours in Geology while Lekunutu Letela will enroll for a National Diploma in Millwright.

Letšeng Diamonds will foot the bill for their studies.

The duo joins Relebohile Malebo, Tšepo Molongoana, Sebongile Motseki, and Lebellang Tšephe who are already benefiting from the scholarships.

Phutheho Maphatšoe and Matlali Seutloali are expected to graduate soon.

Letšeng Diamonds’ boss, Kelebone Leisanyane, said each student “deserves a pat on the back for making it through the rigorous selection process of this prestigious scholarship”.

“I am confident that the level of academic guidance and support that they will receive while studying will be fulfilling and enriching,” Leisanyane said.

Leisanyane said the recipients should be grateful to their parents, guardians and their teachers for nurturing their intellectual and academic talents.

“My humble plea to you is that upon completion of your studies, you should come back and serve your communities and this nation,” he said.

“The skills and knowledge you would have acquired are needed to grow and develop the diamond mining industry in this country. I wish you the very best as you commence this important journey in your life.”

Letšeng Diamonds (Pty) Ltd said it is committed to providing scholarships to deserving Basotho in response to the need for critical skills and expertise in the diamond mining sector.

Scholarships are offered to students currently studying or interested in pursuing tertiary qualifications that are related to the development of the country’s mineral resources.

Every year, prospective students and future mining professionals from all over Lesotho are invited to apply for the scholarship.

Then a competitive and rigorous selection process follows.

The company said in the end, not only the best candidates are selected “but people who will be ambassadors of the company and the nation as a whole”.

To make sure that the students are ready for the job market, a two-year internship is offered at Letšeng Diamonds after completion of studies.

The mine says this is done to equip students with necessary skills and experience.

Permanent employment is offered to top performing students at the internship programme.

Since the inception of the Letšeng scholarships in 2006, scholarships have been awarded to 45 young Basotho, 25 of whom have been employed full-time at the mine.

The educational scholarships form part of Letšeng’s corporate social responsibility and investment programme.

The company says the aim of the programme is to foster social and economic development that will sustain communities beyond the life of the mine.

On behalf of all students, Neo Metsing said they are very grateful to Letšeng that they were able to further their studies.

She said if it was not for Letšeng they would have not have been able to study outside the country.

Natural Resources Minister, Mohlomi Moleko, said “one gets to be successful when preparedness meets opportunities”.

“We live in an infinite world and every single thought in this world can be transformed into its physical equivalent,” Moleko said.

He said he is happy for all students and wished them well.

Tholoana Lesenya

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