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LESOTHO GETS MILLIONS FOR DIAMONDS

Lesotho has gained about M100 million for selling diamonds worth 75,000 carats in Belgium two weeks ago.

This was revealed by the Minister of Mining,  Mr. Lebohang Thotanyane in an interview with LENA where he stated that the diamonds which were from Liqhobong Mine Development Company were sold at M1,498 per carat which totalled at over M100 million.

He noted that amongst them there was a type 2A diamond worth 37,000 carats which he said due to its whiteness and flawlessness, it was sold at about M13 million, saying this exciting because they did not expect the sale to be this high hence expressed hope that the mine is going to bring good things for Lesotho and Basotho as a whole.

He said the money gained from the selling will boost Lesotho's foreign currency reserves at the Central Bank of Lesotho and that this is the money that is going to be used for trading with other foreign countries. He added that it will also get its royalty fee of about 10 percent of the money.

'As the country, we will also benefit from the revenue, pay as you earns as well as tax on profits made by the mine. We are also benefiting through employment because until now the mine has at least employed about 1,000 Basotho and this is a sign that we are benefiting, he added.

Mr. Thotanyane said the country is also benefiting from the social responsibility and community programmes carried out by the mine, citing the compensation programme whereby the mine compensate communities within its location for their fields, rangelands and wells.

Commenting on why they did not showcase the diamonds or inform Basotho before selling them to Belgium, the Minister said the 37,000 carats white and flawless diamond was not the biggest but it was exceptional because it was a type 2A and its other characteristics complemented that, noting that they are currently revising plans on the type of diamonds to showcase.

He further noted that showcasing big diamonds only makes the public believe that small ones are not available, saying they need to ensure that each mine operating in the country every year showcases the diamonds it found so that Basotho know the type of diamonds found in their country as well as the price they are sold at.

Talking about Lets'eng Diamond Mine, the Minister said the mine is still operating well, and that it has recently found the 314,000 carats diamond which he said was sold at over M180 million, saying this also is the good news to Basotho and Lesotho.

The mining industry, which is dominated by diamond mining is expected to contribute an estimated growth of more than 10 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in years to come.

Source: LENA 16/02/2017

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