. HIS EXCELLENCY DR. MOKGWEETSI E. K. MASISI PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA AT THE
OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE KHOEMACAU COPPER MINE OPERATIONS
Batswana betsho, ke le dumedisa ka Pula!
I am delighted to be back here at Khoemacau mine to perform its official opening, exactly two years after the ground breaking ceremony. The name Khoemacau for the mine was given by a pupil from Kuke Primary School and it means ‘the hills of the people’. According to some definition, a hill means, ‘a naturally raised area of a land’. By naming the mine Khoemacau reflects that children too have instincts, visions and hope and in this particular case, this child envisioned that the mine will lift-up the lives of the people.
Khoemacau Copper Mine was developed and completed within the planned time frame, and it is a remarkable achievement considering the tumultuous situation occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. The success by Khoemacau Copper Mine is testimony to the spirit of resilience. I am grateful to the management of the Mine for demonstrating to us that despite the challenges of COVID-19, we can still implement national projects that will help reinvigorate the economy.
Our vision for Botswana is to transform from a middle- income country to a high-income country by 2036 as espoused in our National Vision. To achieve this, we aim to create Botswana that will be a destination of choice for investment. To this extent, Government will create a conducive environment to make private companies such as Khoemacau Copper Mine feel welcome and operate smoothly and contribute to the growth of our economy.
Government will support the Mining Industry through infrastructure development which includes; cross-border railways, roads across the country; electricity infrastructure; and major water transfer schemes. Let me categorically state that I am leading a result- oriented Government that will make sure that our promises become a reality. When I launched the North West Transmission Grid at Mawana, near Maun in April 2021 – another successful initiative, I highlighted that the electricity grid connection will bring with it economic opportunities to the Ngamiland region.
Indeed, the Grid Connection is benefitting Khoemacau making the Mine a viable and sustainable business enterprise. This is an example of a successful Public- Private-Partnership, between the Government of Botswana and Khoemacau Mine. Government has invested above, two billion Pula whilst Khoemacau has invested more than ten billion Pula (P10 billion), in this important project which will contribute significantly to the growth of our economy.
I recently announced that we should revisit our problem- solving strategies; that we regroup; that we reset in order to deliver the promises we made to Batswana in 2019. Value chain development which encompasses citizen economic empowerment is one of the priorities under the Reset Agenda as they will unlock opportunities for new, high-growth companies in the private sector and create youth employment among other citizen empowerment attributes.
The Khoemacau Copper Mine will certainly advance our vision to create employment and contribute to the development of the nearby villages and Botswana at large. I am particularly, pleased to note that the management of this Mine is committed to promote citizen participation and ensure that our people benefit from the value chain.
12. I am informed that the Mine had employed two thousand eight hundred (2 800) people at the peak of its construction, the majority of whom were Batswana. Currently, the Mine has a staff complement of one thousand six hundred (1600) working as artisans, technicians and operators and 95 percent of them are citizens. Citizen owned companies have been engaged to provide critical services to the Mine such as ICT, Catering, Transport and Logistics, an indication that the Mine is committed to including Batswana in its operations. Most importantly, Khoemacau uses the latest automated technology to improve productivity and safety. It also processes up to 40 percent copper concentrate prior to exportation to international market.
Let me welcome the ongoing feasibility study being conducted by private sector players and the Chamber of Mines, to determine the viability of beneficiating base metals like copper in Botswana. Our transformation agenda demands that we take advantage of the mineral value chains and promote rapid, yet sustainable industrialization which will generate wealth and create more jobs for our people. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Khoemacau Copper Mine is expected to contribute approximately, one hundred and nineteen billion Pula (P119 billion) to the GDP, with an estimated average annual tax revenue of over one billion Pula (P1 Billion) during the 22 year lifespan of the mine.
The completion of the Khoemacau Copper Mine demonstrates that Botswana remains a very strong Mining Jurisdiction and is also expected to stimulate and encourage other Greenfield and Brownfield Mining Projects in Botswana during its lifespan of twenty-two years. I remain optimistic that this Mine will ramp up community upliftment initiatives, and demonstrate genuine commitment to international standards, particularly, the International Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Principles. The Mine continues to work with the District Health Management Team in its efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
18. It is also important to highlight the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and urge you to take responsibility to improve the surrounding communities. Partner with these communities and show them compassion, let your existence in their territory benefit them. Partner with government and fight COVID-19, build schools and clinics as applicable.
In conclusion, allow me to sincerely thank the leadership and communities of the North West District for cooperating with Government and the Khoemacau Copper Mine officials to make this project a reality. On this note, I singularly declare the Khoemacau Copper Mine Operations officially open!
Please remember to always follow the COVID-19 Health Protocols; wear your masks properly; wash your hands with soap frequently or sanitize, maintain social distancing, and avoid unnecessary travel.
I thank you – a Pula e le nele.