Botswana’s first iron mine is set to emerge in Ikongwe , a small village near Shoshong. This follows the awarding of mining license recently by Department of Mines inthe Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.
According to a research undertaken by The Projects, Ikongwe Iron ore deposits were part of Investment earmaked under BCL Polaris II , a diversification undertaking conceptualized by BCL Group to sustain the company outside Phikwe Copper Mining.
BCL has since liquidated following decline of International copper prices and alleged mismanagement.
Minister of Mineral Resources , Green Technology & Energy Security Lefoko Maxwell Moagi visited the Ikongwe iron ore project site last month.
Minister Moagi advised the project developers to ensure a plan is in place before operation, with a view to determine what industries would absorb the mined resource.
“You need comprehensive plans right from the start to avoid exporting raw materials when we actually need to create jobs for Batswana. We want to have all value chain activities locally so that we create jobs for our people”
The Ikongwe Iron project investors are Vision Ridge Investment, a private mining company backed by Indians, headquartered in Gaborone CBD.
Vision Ridge Directors revealed recently that the deposit would produce a million tonnes of iron-ore per year for ten years, with iron ore content of up to 65%, commonly referred to as 65% iron. Anything above 60% iron content is considered good for steelmaking.
“Because of the prevailing high international market, we will target the export market but we also have plans to set up a pig-iron plant in Botswana,” Chetan Patil Vision Ridge told international media House Reuters recently
Speaking to members of the media last week Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology & Energy Security said “The mine is also looking at processing some of the run-on-mine material for local steel production. This will revive the local steel industry”