Mining in Botswana
Mining in Botswana is controlled through sound legislative instruments, especially the Mines and Mineral Act, to regulate issuance of exploration and mining licenses.
In addition, this helps to strike a balance between mining activity and environmental control.
The legislation sets the platform for government to have a stake in the mining projects, especially as a partner. In addition government may seek participation in the mining projects by having representation in boards.
The government arm that oversees the mining sector in Botswana is the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs with Departments of Geological Survey and Mines playing a leading role.
There are three types of mineral rights any prospective mining company should satisfy in Botswana.
- Reconnaissance permitThis is a 12 month long permit that allows anyone to scan a wide area for any mineral deposits without paying a fee.
- Prospecting licenseA company may hold any number of prospecting licenses valid for 3 years renewable to prospect for minerals within a restricted area of 1000km2.
When prospecting yields positive results the discovery should be communicated to government within 30 days. The company that made the discovery then qualifies to apply for a mining lease.
- Mining leaseA mining lease allows a company to carry out mining. This is issued only to a prospecting license holder. A mining lease is valid for 25years and may be renewed for a period not more than 25years.
Mining in Botswana plays a significant role in the country's economy. It contributes a third to the country's GDP and 50% of tax earnings. Mining in Botswana that started off in 1965 takes about 80% of the total export of the country's products.
Mining takes up about 20% of the entire employment sector. And 80% of the mining manpower are employed in two mining companies of Debswana (merger between De Beers Pty Ltd and Botswana Government) and BCL.
The country has huge deposits of diamond, copper, coal, cobalt, gold, salt, soda ash, nickel and uranium. But without a doubt, diamond mining dominates mining in Botswana.
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