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Lucara to go underground at Karowe Mine

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Lucara to go underground at Karowe Mine

Lucara Diamond Corp, operators of Karowe Mine, has announced the positive results of a feasibility study to expand their operation underground.

This comes after the company embarked on a technical program to support a Feasibility Level Study for potential underground mining.

The program involved the completion of an updated mineral resource in which a total of US$21 million was spent.

The underground expansion is expected to double Karowe Mine’s lifespan to 2040, generating revenue of US$5.25 billion and US$1.22 billion cash flow.

Since 2012, the mine, which has produced 15 diamonds in excess of 300 carats, has produced a total of 2.5 million carats, generating US$1.5 billion in revenue.

According to the company, updated resource has confirmed increasing value, with the combined open pit and underground operation indicating that the resource now stands at 54.27 million carats per hundred tonnes.

Meanwhile, Lucara has announced its 2019 third quarter results, which show that the company achieved revenue of US$45.3 million from the sale of 116, 200 carats. This marks a minimal decrease compared to the same quarter last year, when a total of US$45.7 million revenue was realised from the sale of 106, 600 carats.

Better recoveries in smaller, lower value diamonds are attributed to the 14 percent increase in the number of carats sold.

Although still profitable, the smaller diamonds are believed to impact the average price per carat sold.

During the quarter, Lucara recorded a net loss of US$4 million, resulting in US$0.01 loss per share.

The increase in operating expenses and a non-cash expense is reported to have had the biggest impact on the current quarter’s results.

For the nine months up to the end of September this year, Lucara recorded revenue amounting to US$136.5 million compared to US$135.6 million registered during the same period in 2018.

It is reported that the first nine months of 2019 were characterised by a continued, strong, stable operating environment at Karowe Mine.

Following record production achieved in the first two quarters of the year, good production carried on into the third quarter, with 0.8 million and 1.5 million tonnes of ore and waste mined respectively.

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Local economy to register modest growth

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Local economy to register modest growth

The local economy is yet again forecast to register moderate growth this year driven by stabilization in the diamond market.

The projections were made by a local investment manager, Kgori Capital in its Fourth Quarter Insights Report.

It is forecast that the local economy will expand by 3.5 percent for the fiscal year 2019 and by 4.0 in 2019 driven mainly by stabilization in the diamond sector.

The sector, which is the mainstay of the economy accounting for over 80 percent of the total country exports faired terribly last year when international sales fell drastically.

Now, the sector is anticipated to pick up slightly this year after a challenging 2019 in which sales dropped badly.

When delivering the budget proposals for the financial year 2020/2021, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr. Thapelo Matsheka indicated that the proposals were presented against the backdrop of continued uncertainty in the global economy.

He specifically mentioned that the continued tension between the United States of America (USA) and China, being the two major markets for Botswana diamonds continue to undermine the country’s economic performance in general and the fiscal position in particular.

Matsheka indicated that this calls for fast-tracking of measures to promote diversified exports to reduce the impact of external shocks on the domestic economy.

While Kgori anticipates the domestic economy to register 4.0 in 2020, the finance ministry, on the other hand, predicts a different figure.

Matsheka expects the domestic economy to continue to register positive growth despite some challenges arising from the weak and uncertain global economic environment.

He says the local economy id estimated to have grown by 3.6 percent in 2019 and to reach 4.4 percent in 2020 driven by faster growth in the services sector.

Meanwhile, Kgori Capital has noted in its report that it expects the central bank, Bank of Botswana to apply another bank rate cut in the first half of this year in order to spur economic activity.

Last year during its August Monetary Policy Meeting (MPC), the central bank cut the rate to a record low, slashing it by 25 basis points from 5 percent to 4.75 percent in an unexpected move after experts warned the rate was already low leaving BoB with little space to maneuver.

According to the Kgori Insights report, the August 2019 rate cut was effected in order to support growth as the bank now feels expectations of stable and low inflation are well anchored.

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Time to strike!

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Time to strike!

Nako Timepieces ticking to the top

Since setting up shop in October 2018, business for local watch brand Nako Timepiece has been ticking along nicely.

Famous for its exceptional quality, the up-market product, which sells for P3, 500, is the brainchild of business partners, Gabriel Mothibedi and Tirafalo Otlhogile.

Speaking to Voice Money recently, Mothibedi revealed the enterprise has undergone exciting new developments, including the launch of subsidiary brands.

“We have two other subsidiaries being Nako Corporate where we have corporate packages and offer businesses gifts for milestone celebrations and other events. We have done that for Debswana, for instance, when they were celebrating their 50th anniversary. The watches we produced for them were unique for such,” said Mothibedi, a Design Strategist by profession.

The company has also introduced Nako Foundation, a charity-like organisation dedicated to helping underprivileged Batswana.

“The process is always to establish the company first, build it and make profits and afterwards see how to benefit others. It becomes problematic if you have the desire when you start the company and immediately try to help others,” noted Mothibedi, adding he feels Nako Timepieces are finally in a position where they can extend a helping hand to those in need.

The watchmakers have also sealed a partnership with Monsieur – a high-end clothes shop which will stock Nako timepieces.

Time to strike!
FRESH LOOK: Mothibedi and Otlhogile with DJ Fresh

“Brand partnerships really build depending on what you want you achieve. We are going to take our watches to different stores in Botswana, outside Botswana and to the world because right now we don’t want to be dealing with retail ourselves,” explained Mothibedi, adding the Monsieur partnership is the first of many to come.

The Nako co-owner announced their intention to establish an assembly factory in Botswana but stressed that production would still take place in Switzerland.

“We want at least the straps to be fitted in Botswana and eventually the watches will be made here as well because we are looking to partner with those guys in Switzerland to come and set up in Botswana,” said Mothibedi, who told Voice Money they have already established offices in South Africa, London and New York

He is confident hundreds of jobs will be created once an assembly factory is set up in Botswana, predicting the number will double once a full production facility is established.

When quizzed on the high price charged for one of their watches, Mothibedi revealed they plan to launch a cheaper version soon.

“We are going to introduce a new product which will cater for a segment which has not been catered for before. There are people who would want to own the collection but are currently put-off by the price. Introducing more affordable ones will give everyone an opportunity to own Nako Timepieces.”

However, he maintained that the quality will remain the same but the new ones will be slimmer.

“We will maintain the same level of quality, durability because the issue here is about demographic profiles,” he concluded.

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Business

Local is lekker!

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Local is Lekker!

LEA showcase home-grown businesses

The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) recently hosted members of the media on a two-day tour covering Bobonong, Molalatau and Selibe Phikwe.

The idea was to showcase some of the enterprises supported by LEA and to document their journeys to date.

SANCTIFIED DELIGHTS BAKERY

Nestled deep in Bobonong’s Dandane ward, with the Matshekge Hill looming large in the background, the bakery is famous for its fresh bread and fancy cakes.

Now in its third year of existence, the business has risen impressively since 29-year-old Botsile Moreba first set-up shop, baking pre-ordered cakes from home.

Desperate to expand his business, Moreba approached the

Local is lekker!
BRILLIANT BAKER: Moreba

Youth Development Fund (YDF), who backed the young entrepreneur to the tune of P97, 000.

The brilliant baker then sought the assistance of LEA, who helped Moreba write-up a detailed business plan, which he submitted to CEDA in 2018.

The agency’s response came back positive, along with a P700, 000 loan, spent on bigger, better equipment.

Part of LEA’s support included holding workshops at the bakery, training Moreba and his eight staff members on the importance of customer service, manufacturing practices and record keeping.

Sanctified Delights’ customer base consists of individuals, schools, tuck shops, Bobonong Cooperative as well as catering for private functions, such as weddings and parties.

A loaf costs P6 while buns sell for P1 each. The enterprise has a daily capacity of 800 loaves, depending on orders and walk-in customers.

Open seven days a week, on average Moreba rakes in P75, 000 every month.

However, despite the impressive numbers, it is not all plain sailing.

“Some of the challenges are that we cannot get a bigger space where we can operate the business. Also the government pays us late even though we always submit invoices well in time. We agreed on a maximum period of two weeks but it does not happen that way!” grumbled Moreba, who inherited his love of cooking from his mother.

LIT-SHINE CHEMICAL SOLUTIONS PTY LTD

Based in Selibe Phikwe’s Industrial location, the company specialises in cleaning detergents, manufacturing a range of products, including: pine gel, dishwashing liquid, car and carpet shampoos, multi purpose cleaner and pool acid.

The operation is the brainchild of 34-year-old Maiteko Morapetsane, a Geologist forced to find alternative income when the BCL mine closed in 2016.

Local is lekker!
CLEAN LIVING: Morapetsane

After spotting a local advert seeking incubators to train in Toilet Roll Manufacturing, Morapetsane decided to try something similar, focusing on cleaning detergents.

At the start of 2018, the Semotswane native enrolled on a two-month training course run by LEA.

The courses covered included: Sales and Marketing, Business Plan Development and Business Formalisation (EDD).

LEA also ensured Morapetsane received valuable exposure at various Trade Shows and Buyer Seller seminars across the country.

By August of that year, Morapetsane received P99, 000 funding from the YDF, starting production in February 2019.

His market clientele is predominantly made up of guesthouses, lodges, schools and individuals.

Having celebrated its first anniversary this month, business is building slowly, with current monthly sales of P20, 000 compared to expenses of P14, 000.

As a micro-starter, LEA intends to help Morapetsane upgrade to a higher level, which in turn will mean he can add to his current staff contingent of two.

KOHITA INVESTMENT PTY LTD

Still in its infancy, Kohita Investment was founded by retired 50-year-old teacher, Hilary Koodirile, last November.

Situated in Selibe Phikwe, Bamangwato Industrial, the enterprise offers a range of cereals, such as: sorghum, lebelebele, korong and maize.

Local is lekker!
FIBRE FAN: Koodrile

“My intention is to produce healthy food with fibre as there is a noticeable shortage of fibre-based foods. We produce Ntlatlawane, Lebelebele and Mosutlhane. I am targeting schools, hospitals, shops, prisons and individuals,” explained the former Food and Nutrition and Fashion and Fabrics teacher, who counts Palapye Technical College and Mahalapye Brigade amongst her previous employers.

As the organisation battles to gain a foothold in the market, Koodirile admits being a new company has its drawbacks, with shops buying her products at ‘very low prices’.

“They control our prices as manufactures and we end up just giving them because we do not have enough market!”

The company’s best sellers include: Bopi jwa Korong, with a 5kg bag selling for P60, maize meal at P45 for 5kg and chicken feed at P35 for 5kg.

TRUST RADIATOR CLINIC

50-year-old Ketaroma Moshe is an expert at repairing radiators and is successfully eeking out a living in what is stereotypically considered a male-dominated profession. Her ‘Radiator Clinic’ also specialises in refining brake shoes and pads, skimming cylinder heads and grinding valves.

Moshe started her business in July 2016, with LEA taking her under its wing the following year after she approached the Authority at the Selibe Phikwe Trade Show. Since then, Moshe has completed a number of LEA-run courses and holds certificates in Process Improvement, Technology Awareness, Occupational Health and Safety among others.

Local is lekker!
HANDS ON: Moshe

Based in Phikwe, where she is up against two similar enterprises, Moshe welcomes the competition.

“Sometimes we belittle ourselves as women but everything is driven by passion. When I started people thought I would not make it, especially after the BCL mine closed. However, it didn’t affect me too much as the mine did not bring much income into my business. Instead, it is local garages and individual customers who make my business to survive,” said Moshe, who completed her two-year Junior Certificate back in 1988.

She dreams of becoming the first manufacturer of brake shoes and pads in the area, items that are currently only produced in South Africa.

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