THE successful implementation of the Mines and Minerals Policy is dependent on comprehensive plans on capacity development and institutional reforms,” Mining Minister Keketso Sello says.
The minister said this while officially opening a two-day stakeholder workshop on the implementation of the policy this past week.
The Mining and Minerals Policy was developed by the government of Lesotho with support from the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
It was approved by cabinet in 2015 to guide the implementation of the government’s goals in the mining sector.
It seeks to carefully balance the need to create conditions that attract high flows of mining investment with producing sustainable social and economic progress for all Basotho.
Some of the policy’s thematic areas include mineral exploration, fiscal and taxation regime, the legal and regulatory framework, value-addition, domestic empowerment and integration of the sector in the national economy.
It also delves in the artisanal and the small scale mining sector, transparency and accountability in mineral sector governance, environmental, social and economic sustainability, regional integration and cooperation support, as well as human resources development issues.
Addressing the workshop’s attendees, who included representatives of mining companies, civil organizations and government officials, Mr Sello said a comprehensive implementation plan was needed to ensure the policy’s success.
“In order for this policy to be successfully implemented, there should be a comprehensive implementation plan and strategies in the areas of capacity development of the ministry in issues related to human resources and institutional reforms,” the minister said.
“There should also be a clear financing plan showing the extent to which resources are available and can be mobilised to implement the policy, and the ability to provide estimates for planned activities geared towards implementing the policy.”
A sound monitoring and evaluation plan was also imperative, he said, to help monitor implementation progress and to enable the government to assess the adequacy of the budget to implement the policy.
Mr Sello also indicated that the policy would clearly state the roles of different stakeholders from the government, mining companies to the public at large.
“Mineral exploration is the main player in mineral development. We realise that, as a country, we need to explore other minerals using modern and more appropriate technologies and have such information being availed so that investment grows within the sector. We also need to create conducive environment for mining including downstream activities,” he added.
Ensuring the sector increased its contribution to the economy was of critical importance, the minister stated.
Mining was identified in the National Development Strategic Plan for 2012-2017 as one of the economic growth accelerators. The sector is expected to contribute more than 10 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.
“It is ideal that this plan should also address issues of economic growth. As we all know, that minerals are non-renewable resources, there has to be a clear strategy on how we can use the revenue accruing from the mining sector to strengthen other sustainable sectors that have potential to reduce unemployment and accelerate economic growth,” Mr Sello added.