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Mining indaba on the cards 

by Lesotho Times
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Letsatsi Selikoe 

LESOTHO is gearing to hold its inaugural mining indaba, a historic event aimed at reshaping the future of the country’s extractive industry. 

The Lesotho Mining Indaba (Khotla) 2024 will bring together key stakeholders in the mining sector to discuss critical issues and chart a path towards sustainable and equitable development. 

The Indabais slated for 25 and 26 April 2024 at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru. 

Themed “The Future of Mining in the Global Landscape,” the Indaba promises dynamic discussions, strategic insights, and unparalleled networking opportunities, its organisers said. 

It will create a platform to mobilise for investment into Lesotho’s mining, in addition to addressing chronic challenges faced by the sector. 

While Lesotho is renowned for producing high-quality world class diamonds, the returns have not translated into economic prosperity for the country’s citizens. 

This has been partly blamed by the government on the failure of mining companies to pay regular dividends. The government has also complained about its lesser shareholding of 30 percent in mining companies while foreign investors control the majority 70 percent shareholdings.  Prime Minister Sam Matekane has spoken of his plans to reverse that ownership trajectory. 

One of the Mining Indaba’s organisers, Tando Mandela, said hope for the sector’s transformation was not lost. 

According to Ms Mandela, while Lesotho’s mining sector was faced with evolving challenges, it remained a strategic sector for economic prosperity and development. 

“According to an update, issued last September by the Central Bank of Lesotho on the country’s Economic Outlook 2023-2025, the mining industry is expected to drive private sector growth in the medium term,” Ms Mandela said. 

“This gathering, therefore, presents an opportunity for a frank discussion on critical issues that will shape the future of mining in the Kingdom of Lesotho, based on a variety of issues including technological advancements, environmental stewardship, community engagement, labour related matters and economic development.” 

Natural Resources Minister, Mohlomi Moleko, the Mineworkers Development Agency (MDA) and other key stakeholders are expected to give an update on the mining conference today. 

Some of the key objectives of the conference are 

  • To ensure that mineral wealth contributes to national economic and social development,
  • To find ways of mitigating against the adverse social and environmental impact of mining,
  • To ensure equitable access, transparency, and public participation in the sustainable development of the mining sector.
  • To pursue unclaimed pensions/compensation funds of ex miners,
  • To appeal to the South African mines and other countries for Corporate Social Investment (CSI).
  • To create focus on the social labour plans (SLP) support, and
  • To stimulate investment in the mining sector, exploration, remining expansion and community development.

 

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