Diamond academy enrols first intake

MASERU — The Lesotho Diamonds Academy says it would train 50 Basotho men and women in the evaluation, marking, classification, cutting and polishing of rough diamonds.

Lectures at the academy, which will be located at the LNDC Centre in Maseru, will begin on February 7.

Michael Molefe, the Lesotho Diamonds Academy director, told a press briefing that his company would seek to transfer skills in the fields of rough diamonds to Basotho.

“The main objective of this institution is to create jobs and alleviate poverty in the country,” Molefe said.

He said the academy will offer internationally-recognised qualifications in diamond marking, classification, cutting and evaluation.

The academy will also offer studies in gemmology which is the study of precious gemstones as well in metallurgy which is the study of metals.

It also offers courses in jewellery design and manufacturing.

Some of the institute’s lecturers will come from South Africa and as far afield as Israel.

“Basotho will be given an opportunity to sell their diamonds even if they are illegal diamond dealers,” he said.

He said everyone who has a diamond should be assisted to sell that diamond with the government getting a certain percentage of the money.

Molefe said students will polish, cut and design jewellery from diamonds which are mined locally.

He said the company was planning to sell its products locally and internationally.

Molefe said most of the students who will graduate from the institution will be employed locally or will embark on their own projects.

He said they are also planning to set up a “museum” where tourists will get to see some of the precious stones that have been mined in Lesotho before they are sold.

“The museum itself will be generating money before the diamonds can be sold and that will contribute a lot to the country’s economic growth,” Molefe said.

He said the institution will focus mainly on economic growth and social transformation to improve the lives of Basotho.

It will also contribute to creating jobs for thousands of unemployed Basotho and alleviate poverty.

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