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Exploration licenses do not cover quarry extracted minerals

13 Apr 2023

Parliament has heard that the three valid exploration licences granted under the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act allow for petroleum exploration and do not cover construction minerals extracted through quarrying.

Answering a question on Wednesday, Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi said of the three exploration licences in Botswana, one was held by a 100 per cent citizen-owned company while two were held by Botswana registered companies with foreign shareholding.

Minister Moagi also told Parliament that the Minerals Policy encouraged citizen participation in mineral prospecting, exploration and mining.

“The ministry continues to review mineral legislation to entrench these new imperatives into the statutory framework. 

As a way to promote citizen participation in the minerals industry, the Mines and Minerals Act has provisions that reserve minerals permits for construction minerals for citizens only,” he said.

He added that the ministry was reviewing the Act and parts of the amendments being considered included expanding reservations for citizens.

He indicated that given the high capital required in mineral prospecting, exploration and mining that citizens often did not have access to, the ministry had over the years been availing de-risked mineral concessions for quarry sites to citizens.

“This entails undertaking an initial prospecting survey of sites by Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) and advancing the prospective projects to pre-feasibility phase before the sites are granted to citizen companies through competition,” he said.

Again, he said the ministry had and continued to grant concessions through competition to citizens for which substantial prospecting information was available from previous prospecting work.

“This way, concessions have been granted to citizens for diamonds and coal,” he added.

Minister Moagi further said government continued to develop processes that would assist in the growth of the minerals industry, including growth in meaningful participation by citizen-owned companies and funding as well as  capital markets were key elements.

“Mining is capital intensive and has lengthy development cycles. 

This makes procuring funding by exploration and mining companies a challenge. 

To remedy this challenge, my ministry is researching more strategic funding approaches. Optimal vehicles of delivering this strategic goal are being reviewed, including the possible establishment of an exploration fund,” he said.

Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Mr Tumisang Mangwegape-Healy had asked the minister to state the number of exploration licences excluding quarries in Botswana.

Mr Mangwegape-Healy also asked the minister to state the number of licences held by citizens and those held by foreigners.

He also wanted to know if there were programmes in place to ensure citizen participation in mining and exploration and if government would consider a fund for mining exploration to be used by citizens. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : Gaborone


Date : 13 Apr 2023