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Botswana's mines have grown older – Milton

JWANENG: The general manager of the Debswana Jwaneng Mine, Albert Milton has said that although the country’s GDP has grown exponentially due to the role played by the diamonds, the mines were worriedly growing older.

Giving a welcome speech at the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) dinner at the Debswana Club Thursday last week, Milton declared worriedly that the mines were generally getting older, which posed serious challenges to mining.

He demonstrated that the Jwaneng Mine has been 400 metres deep, with the Cut Eight now estimated at about 600 metres deeper and Cut Nine envisaged to go 850 metres deeper.

He emphasised that it was time the mines came up with innovations and technologies to catch up with the times.  One of the mitigations made by the Debswana mines was to introduce business development department to really look at how they can do things better and keep pace with new technologies to simplify the way of doing things. “It’s time we step up and take our country to greater heights and we have to deliver,” emphasised Milton as he welcomed guests.

On corporate social investment (CSI) the Jwaneng Mine boss indicated that they have the community that needs their assistance within the areas they operate in. In an endeavour to improve the lives of the communities around the mine, Milton said that they spend money assisting on education development. Their main aim is to assist schools in the rural areas to perform better. Former Botswana Ash managing director and sitting president of BCM, Montwedi Mphathi thanked the host, Debswana Jwaneng Mine multiple times for continuing to fund BCM activities.

“The BCM could not be where it is

if it would have not been for Debswana’s largest contributions over the years,” Mphathi said, emphasising that Debswana has been a pillar of the national economy as well.

Mphathi encouraged mining captains and their middle managers, who had thronged the BCM meeting to leverage on technology, to keep the mines as the pillar of the country’s economy and more.

He also thanked Debswana for its CSI as it continues caring for the communities around the mines.

As for the mines that have closed due to various challenges, he was optimistic that such mines were going to rise again as factors such as the rising economy of the US and other consumers were encouraging.

Speaking to the BCM CEO at the BCM dinner, Charles Siwawa, he indicated that interestingly, mining is an unsafe area.

“When someone leaves his/her home to work they must return home unharmed. At BCM, we believe that all the mines should talk safety at the workplace always as a unit,” Siwawa said.

He indicated that since BCM meetings bring captains of the industry together, it offers an opportunity for benchmarking.

It also offers middle managers to review the safety, health and environment record.

“From the tour of the Debswana Jwaneng Mine, the first thing to find out from the peers is what is not being done properly as the philosophy is to learn from each other,” Siwana said indicating that generally, the safety record of the mines is getting better and better.




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