Botswana is looking to diversify its commodity portfolio, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said in Perth on Wednesday.
Speaking on the first day of the Paydirt Africa Downunder conference, Masisi said that in order to diversify the country’s mineral portfolio, the government has embarked on a number of projects to identify the potential for mineral resources and to digitise and make geoscience information readily available to private investors in an effort to encourage prospecting.
The Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) has been tasked with an aggressive systematic exploration programme to raise the current programme of prospectivity through the phased country-wide mapping to improve exploration coverage, said Masisi.
“Botswana’s geological environment is conducive to a variety of metals, and central to the exploration and mapping drive is the search for new mineral commodities, in particular rare earth elements and battery metals. Assessments of these critical elements has taken centre stage throughout the country,” the President said.
“Historically, mapping has been concentrated in the eastern part of Botswana, which represents only 30% of the country. Approximately 25% of the land area constitutes current mining and beneficiation activity, the rest of the country, which is mainly covered by the Kalahari desert, constitutes significant and unexplored potential for mineral prospects that can drive future mineral investment and stimulate economic growth.”
Botswana is the only African nation that made it to the top ten of the Fraser Institute’s May Investment Attractiveness Index for the most attractive jurisdictions for mining investment, with the country ranking next to South Australia and Quebec.
In the Policy Perception Index, Botswana took out the second spot, topped only by Nevada.
“We have ensured that the exploration and mining landscape is stable, well codified and supported by fair and transparent statutes, rules and regulations. And processes that are easy to comply with for everyone involved,” Masisi said on Wednesday.
Despite Botswana’s obvious prospectivity for mining investment, Masisi noted that funding continued to be a major issue for the African nation.
“Funding issues for further exploration have continued to impede the realization of the mineral sector to reach its full potential. It’s not unique to Botswana, and we believe that global partnerships and collaborations for public and private sector participation will assist the government to attract and retain capital investment in the mining industry,” he said.
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