Botswana, with its stable government, large airport, excellent roads, and strong economic environment is an excellent place mining. And there is good gold occurrences in the country which have led to the establishment of several large mines.
Much of the mining in Botswana occurs near Francistown, the second largest city in Botswana. Francistown, which is located in Eastern Botswana, is close to the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and other countries in the central part of Africa. The Francistown-Kazungula Road connects Francistown to the rest of the country as well as to its neighbors making it an important business hub for the area.
Botswana’s Mining History
The history of mining in Botswana began around 1100. There was an exposed gold mineralization site that was mined until 1400. It wasn’t until 1889 that this site was rediscovered by a Swiss mining engineer, DeMaffy.
Named the Monarch Mine, it was developed again by the Tati Concessions Company (TCC) and the Tati Concessions and Exploration Company. In 1897, a large shaft to the fourth level was built. Along with a new railway, the Mafikeng-Bulwayo Railway, the redevelopment of the Monarch Mine vastly escalated mining activity. However, gold prices declined in 1902 making mining an unprofitable enterprise. (Currently, the Monarch Mine is not being worked.)
After World War I, gold prices rose again. The mining company exchanged hands several times and became profitable again in 1923 when it was purchased by the Francis Gold Mining Company (VGM).
In1965, minerals made up nearly 80% of the country’s exports. This included not only gold, but diamonds, salt, copper, soda ash, uranium, and nickel. In the early 1990’s, the mineral industry began dominating the national economy.
Current Mining Activity in Botswana
One of the current gold mining companies includes Galene Gold, which is located 30 kilometers from Francistown. The company began production in 2005. It produced a total of 18 metric tons of gold as of September, 2014. Extending the production of gold for the next three years is projected to yield 1 metric ton.
Mupane Gold, a subsidiary of Galene Gold, operates the Mupane Mine, which is also 30 km from Francistown. Another company, Gallery Gold, explored other sites near the Mupane facility. These included the Jim’s Luck project, The Golden Eagle, and the Map Nora prospects.
Three types of mineral rights can be secured for companies interested in gold mining in Botswana. They are as follows:
1. Reconnaissance Permit
This permit allows interested partys to look for deposits large areas of Botswana. There is no fee associated with this permit.
2. Prospecting License
Companies may hold as many prospecting licenses as desired. This renewable license is good for three years. It allows for prospecting of minerals in a 1000 square kilometer area. If a mineral deposit is discovered, then the company must contact the Botswana government within thirty days. The next step would be to apply for a mining license.
3. Mining Lease
A mining lease is given to a company and allows it to proceed with mining. This lease is good for 25 years, although it can only be renewed once.
Mining Investment in Botswana
Mining in Botswana is controlled through the Mines and Mineral Act. This legislation regulates the allocation of exploration and mining permits and licenses. The government also enacted this law to ensure that environmental controls are in place. Furthermore, this act allows the government to be a partner in mining projects and gives it the right to have representative on the board.
The mining of gold and other minerals has a positive impact on the people and economy of Botswana. Twenty percent of people are employed by the mining industry, and fifty percent of the country’s tax base comes from it as well. Mining is not only a favorable industry for Botswana, but it is favorable to mining companies as well.
Also Read: Gold & Diamond Mining in Namibia