President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed gratitude towards Lucara Diamond for its contribution to the economic growth of the country through mining.
Speaking at the naming ceremony for the 1,758 carat diamond, the largest diamond ever discovered in Botswana, President Masisi said that the success of the mining company is phenomenal.
“With only less than ten years of existence in the country, your glittering trail of success surely is awe inspiring and indeed motivating,” he said.
He said he was optimistic that with Lucara Diamond, Botswana has a friend whom she can trust as the country moves from the middle-income trap to becoming one with high income countries.
The Canadian diamond mining is the first mining company in the world to incorporate revolutionary XRT technology which led to the discovery of 1109 carat Lesedi la Rona. President Masisi said Botswana is ready to leverage on the leading information communication technology (ICT) as a key contributor to economic growth and employment.
“Our greatest desire is to see Lucara take Batswana onboard through various initiatives, to ensure that as a country, we develop patents, and skills set in the industry that is globally competitive and highly innovative,” he said.
President and Chief Executive Officer for Lucara Diamond Inc. Eira Thomas said they invested in Botswana because the country recognised the importance of resource development to its economy.
Thomas said Lucara and Karowe mine’s mining journey has been epic one as within seven years they have broken many records.
“We are the first diamond mining Company to incorporate revolutionary XRT technology which led to the recovery of the 1109 carat Lesedi la Rona, the world’s second largest gem diamond in recorded history, the 813 carat Constellation which sold for a world record price and, most recently, the recovery of a 1,758 carat diamond, the largest diamond ever recovered in Botswana and Karowe’s second +1000 carat diamond in just four years,” she said.
The TSX, Nasdaq Stockholm and the Botswana Stock Exchange-listed company also became the first mining company to have the first female Managing Director in Africa and executive leadership team that is 80% female.
“We are proud that we employ close to 1200 people, 98% of whom are Batswana,” revealed Thomas.
Managing Director of Lucara Botswana Naseem Lahri said they aim through various initiatives to empower the community in which they operate.
Through their social impact programme, Lahri said they will thrive to unearth community projects of various kinds; they will nurture it, polish it and watch it sparkle with their support.
Lucara Botswana as a contributing partner to Lundin Foundation, the community investment arm of the Lundin Group of Companies has contributed to the community of Boteti.
The company is planning to construct a sport complex in Letlhakane which will be called Lesedi La Rona multi-purpose sports complex.
Through Karowe Village Initiative, the company has initiated three community-based projects being a commercial goat farm in Khwee; a horticulture project in Mokubilo; and a hardware store in Mmadikola.
“At Lucara Botswana, contributions to the development of our host community go beyond creation of jobs, generating taxes and payment of royalties. We continue to support young entrepreneurs, strengthen important community infrastructure, through initiatives such as the Letlhakane Abattoir and the Mokubilo Cooperative Society Farm,” emphasized Lahri.
They also have KEEF (Karowe Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund) programme which provides loans and advisory support to a series of micro-entrepreneurs.
“This facility was designed to provide loans and advisory support to a successive cohort of micro-entrepreneurs. The successful applicants ranged from a goat farmer to a brick manufacturer,” she said, adding that KEEF beneficiaries have now transitioned to being supported by LEA to help them become more resilient and viable businesses.