Mothae to generate more money-Qoo
MOTHAE Diamond Mine will generate income from processing its diamonds over and above the income it will get from rough diamond sales, Mining minister Serialong Qoo has said.
This is part of the new diamond marketing deal signed between the government and Lucapa Diamond Company, the major shareholder at the mine and the government.
Mr Qoo made the statement at a press conference in Maseru on Friday.
The deal announced on Wednesday, is part of a new marketing strategy announced prior to the mine’s re-opening next month.
The mine has been on care and maintenance since the March 2020 when the government imposed a national lockdown to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed Lucapa Diamond Company, is the majority shareholder in the mine with a 70 percent stake while the remaining 30 percent is controlled by the government.
The mine started commercial mining in January 2019.
Mr Qoo said the deal entails that Lucapa would be on trial to auction Mothae’s diamonds in alternative open markets to see how it performs.
In July this year, the Mothae mine management proposed to the government that Lucapa get exclusive rights to purchase all the mine’s diamonds for five years without any tendering or auctioning process.
However, the government rejected some of the proposals.
“Following discussions between the government and the management of Lucapa, we have agreed that Lucapa will sell the diamonds in such a way that the mine will generate income from the sale of rough diamonds and their cutting and polishing,” Mr Qoo said.
“This will be done in a transparent way and the mine will inform the Commissioner of Mines where and when the diamonds will be auctioned. We have agreed to put this deal on trial to see how it performs compared to the first one.”
Mr Qoo said they were pleased with the new marketing strategy as it would increase country’s financial benefit.
“We are pleased to have worked closely with Lucapa as our partners in Mothae to see the mine begin its journey back into operation as positive signs begin to emerge for diamonds with the world economies looking to reopen.
“We also see this new marketing channel as an important additional option to the existing tender solution that will deliver benefit from beyond the mine…
“The mine will also increase its production, so that means more jobs will be created through increased economic activity at the mine site.
“We have also agreed with Lucapa that they will inform the ministry whenever there are changes that must be made so that we can discuss. This will ensure transparent recruitment of workers at the mine.”
Mr Qoo also quelled speculation that the government had approved initial proposal which entailed exclusive marketing rights to Lucapa and attributed such reports to “people who do not want to see progress”.
“Those who are bad-mouthing this development are political opponents who do not want to see the government doing anything positive,” Mr Qoo said.