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The mining sector contributes an estimated 10 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into the country's economic growth.

This was said by Minister of Mining, Mr. Lebohang Thotanyana in a statement he delivered in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Mr. Thotanyana said the mining sector is currently generating about 3000 jobs while money into the government purse is well over M1 billion through taxes and royalties plus a foreign currency exceeding 500 million US dollars.

He said the aim of his Ministry is to increase the operational of diamond mines from the current two to six by 2020.

“Liqhobong Mine has just invested M2.4 billion, adding that the mine is testing a new plant which has already started operations,” he added.

The Minister said Kolo Mine is now bringing mining material like machinery as well as compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Mr. Thotanyana also pointed out that the Cabinet has offered Sputnik Investments a mining license at Mothae, adding that at Lemphane, his Ministry is yet to make an expression of interest to the mining company while with Motete, the Ministry is still in negotiation with interested mining companies to award licenses.

He said the ministry also aims to attract investments in excess of M5 billion as well as to increase job opportunities from 3000 to 5000 in the mining sector alone and the production from 340 carats to 1,500 carats.

“This will make Lesotho one of the world leading diamond producers,” he stressed.

Mr. Thotanyana said his ministry is also looking at the mining diversification in which Lesotho Geo Chemical Mapping Project is done by the government to discover mineral elements that are close to 23.

He said there are opportunities in the country of hydro-carbons like oil and gas in the country.

Currently there are two operational mines which are Lets'eng diamonds and Kao and both are situated in the Mokhotlong district.


Source: LENA 22/11/2016

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