MOKHOTLONG — Letšeng Diamonds is planning to expand production in the next two years by establishing an additional plant at its mine in Mokhotlong.
Letšeng’s security, corporate social responsibility and investment manager Leboela Makhema told the Sunday Express on Wednesday the expansion would help in creating 400 jobs for Basotho.
“We are currently investigating the possibility of expanding further production output by one third,” Makhema said.
“We want the plant to start operating in the next two years if our (preliminary) investigations give us an indication to proceed with the plant,” he said.
“There are currently 1 200 people working at the mine and 95 percent of them are Basotho.
“The expansion of our production by establishing one more plant would mean that the mine will be able to employ 400 more Basotho.”
Makhema said the mine was forced to employ foreigners in some instances because Lesotho does not have adequate mining expertise.
“The employment is not 100 percent Basotho because Lesotho does not have a rich history in mining hence we do not have the expertise as yet,” he said.
“That is why we go outside the country to look for experienced personnel in mining.”
The government of Lesotho holds a 30 percent stake in Letšeng Diamonds with the rest of the shares being owned by foreign nationals.
The company was given a mining license in 1999.
Since 2004 Letšeng has processed over five million tonnes per year and has unearthed 100 000 carats.
The mining company is the seventh largest Kimberlite mine in the world and has so far produced three of the top 20 rough diamonds, the latest being a 478 carat Leseli la Letšeng in 2008.