THE government has set aside M25 million for projects in the Mining Ministry that include hiring a diamond valuator who will help it accurately value local diamonds, Minister Serialong Qoo has said.
Mr Qoo said this at a press conference last week although he could not be drawn into revealing how much of the M25 million budget would be reserved for the diamond valuator.
Mr Qoo said the diamond valuator will be engaged before the end of the year.
“This is something the government has always wanted to do but could not implement because there was no budget,” Mr Qoo said adding: “But now that we have the budget, it’s time we get one”.
All along, mines would only inform the government of the amount of diamonds and their value but the government would have no means of confirming the said values.
“The diamond valuator will also follow up to see where the diamonds are sold and verify if they were sold the right way.”
Mr Qoo also praised diamond mines Kao and Mothae for their vibrant corporate social initiatives (CSI). He said Mothae Mine in Mokhotlong has built nursery schools in the surrounding communities and has been consistent in giving back to the community.
The mine has also repaired some of the dilapidated infrastructure at some already existing schools including installing roofing some of the buildings.
On its part, Kao Mine has set up several self-reliance projects that have benefitted the local communities, the minister said.
“Kao Mine offers training in bricklaying, catering and carpentry. At least 90 youths are benefitting from these community empowerment projects. The mine also works in close collaboration with the Lesotho Distance Teaching Centre for those who want to further their formal education. Ninety-one people are benefitting from this initiative.
“The mine also pays the salaries of teachers of a local nursery school which has an enrolment of 48 learners,” Mr Qoo said.