Boteti, regarded as the home to the world’s most loved gem stones – diamonds –. carries the dishonourable badge of being one of the most under developed areas in Botswana.
However a Canadian mining company, Lucara Diamond Corporation, plans to change all that. The company through its subsidiary Boteti mine owns Karowe mine in Letlhakane
Addressing members of the media, the company’s Managing Director Naseem Lahri said they have been contemplating of starting Phase 2 of Mokubilo Integrated Farm as the demands are growing for their products. “The project is run by the community and they are also board members and employ locals, thus empowering them,” said Lahri.
The farm, which was started last year, produces and sells cabbage, spinach, green pepper, tomatoes and eggs.
In 2018 the diamond mining company conceived what they called Karowe Village Initiatives (KVI) to fund pilot community empowerment projects in three villages of Mmadikola, Khwee and Mokubilo.
Karowe mine, which recently unearthed the largest uncut diamond in recent history, seems to be committed to turning around the lives of the Boteti communities as the MD announced that they are going to build a sports complex in Letlhakane.
“The budget has been approved and it will be an intergraded sport facility,” she said.
The nearest state of the art sport facilities in the area is in Orapa where people are required to get permits to enter into the diamond town. In 2016 Karowe mine in partnership with Lundin Foundation and Boteti sub district council upgraded the Letlhakane abattoir from a small scale capacity into a medium one.
Lahri, who is the first Motswana woman to lead a mining company, revealed that they are in talks with Boteti Sub District Council after they learnt that the council wants to privatise the abattoir.
“We want to get it for the community and help them to run it. If it is privatised it will be expensive for the farmers to access it,” she said, revealing that they also want to create downstream industries from the abattoir like fertiliser producing company and leather by-products.
The 1,758-carat diamond
Regarding the discovery of the 1.758 carat diamond, Lahri said they were not in a hurry to auction it.
She announced that they will be running a competition in which Batswana will be given an opportunity to name the stone which is second in size only to the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, recovered in South Africa in 1905.
In 2015 Karowe Mine discovered a 1,109-carat which was named ‘Lesedi la Rona’ but the stone struggled to meet its undisclosed reserve price in 2016. It was later bought by a British diamond dealer Graff Diamonds for $53 million in September 2017.