Debswana close to installing X-ray scanners

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 13 January 2015   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Debswana MD, Balisi Bonyonyo Debswana MD, Balisi Bonyonyo

After waiting for close to two years to get approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to install full body X- Ray machines at its mines, Debswana Mining Company is now on the verge of realising this goal.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has given the company a go ahead to conduct a public review of environmental impact assessment study for the installation of the Scannex Low Dose full body X-Ray machines.
Radiation Protection Board gave the mine conditional license to install the machines in 2012 but it couldn’t go ahead without the approval of DEA. Debswana submitted their environmental assessment impact report to the Department of Environmental Affairs in August, 2013 and have been awaiting the response.
The diamond mining company’s main stumbling block in the installation of the Scannex machines has been the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) opposition on grounds that radiation from the machines might affect workers negatively in the long run.
To address the problem, DEA instituted a reference group which included officials from the public health, BMWU, Radiation Department, University of Botswana (UB) physics department and Department of Mines.
All the departments in the reference group are said to have approved the installation of the X-ray machines, except BMWU.
The aim of the installation of the X-ray machines is to prevent diamond theft at Debswana’s four mining operations, which currently use strip and search method. Debswana mines, which are part of the De Beers Group of Companies, are said to have scored less when it comes to security of the gems.
The company wants to install 10 full body Scannex machines at four of their mining operations being Orapa, Damtshaa, Letlhakane and Jwaneng Mines. The machines are currently used in De Beers mines in Namibia and South Africa.

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