One in five mining jobs disappear

Botswana Mine Workers Union members during their protest against the closure of BCL Mine last year
Botswana Mine Workers Union members during their protest against the closure of BCL Mine last year

For every five people directly employed in the minerals industry last year, one lost a job, according to data made available yesterday in the National Assembly.

Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, Sadique Kebonang told legislators that overall numbers of direct employment in the mineral sector had declined 21% to 19,519 workers last year. The latest data indicates weakening employment figures in mining, from 24,572 in 2014, to 23,761 in 2015.

The drop was largely due to the closure of BCL and Tati Mines, which were placed under provisional liquidation in October, with the main shareholder, Government, citing excessively high costs of operating capital required. “Copper and nickel prices showed improvement in 2016 from US$2.06/pound to US$2.65/pound for copper, and US$3.80/pound to US$5.20/pound for nickel respectively.

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