Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) finds curious the silence of the Ministry of Minerals and Energy on the Masama Coal Mine shutdown despite having bankrolled the project with BWP 125 million through the Minerals Development Company Botswana (MDCB) and the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).
On the 3rd March 2023, the BMWU wrote to the Minister of Minerals and Energy, notifying him of the developments at Masama Coal Mine, which developments we believe he was aware of as the sole shareholder of MDCB and a major investor in the project. MDCB Is a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Minerals and Energy, through which the Government of Botswana’s mineral development investment interests are managed. This entity falls under the Minister of Minerals portfolio hence his deployment to be sole shareholder of MDCB.
Given the indifference already shown by Government on this matter there is no doubt that the Minister will not respond to the Union. This is something that the Union has grown accustomed to under his Ministry. It has now become common practice for authorized or specially authorized officers including those exercising delegated powers under section 2(6) of the Mines and Minerals Act to be callous to the Union or its members issues. At this stage, it is not clear whether we will be engaging with the Minister as the regulator and enforcer of mining regulations or an investor with substantial and/or a direct interest in the masama coal project.
The Government of Botswana does not care about its citizens. Its actions are literally speaking louder than its words ever could. Our government is arrogant and does not respect social partners. The exclusion of the BMWU on forums such as the Mining Sector HLCC and Mines Quarries Works and Safety Committee is Government’s way of avoiding accountability from workers while perpetuating an environment where mining companies act with impunity, subjecting workers to the most deplorable conditions without proper recourse.
We demand as we here by do:
1. An urgent meeting with the Minister of Minerals and Energy and the CEOs of Jarcon and Minergy.
2. A response to our letter of the 3rd March 2023 on the lawfulness or otherwise
of the planned Masama Coal Mine Shut-down.
3. Interdiction and investigation of the intended Masama Coal Mine Shut- down as per section 47 (3) of the Mines and Minerals Act.
ISSUED BY THE BMWU LEADERSHIP
Maenge PG Maenge
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