By: Mpho Shelile

Lesotho stands at a pivotal juncture in its quest for economic prosperity, with its mining sector poised to play a central role in driving growth and development.

This statement was made on April 25th, 2024 at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre during the inaugural Lesotho Mining Indaba Khotla.

Ngakane Ngakane expresses his view that Lesotho has the potential to unlock its full potential and create a brighter future for its people by responsibly harnessing its mineral resources, embracing sustainable practices, and fostering an enabling environment for investment.

He further adds that Lesotho is now increasingly focusing on the mining sector, which offers great economic benefits.

Although Lesotho is traditionally known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, it is now positioning itself to take advantage of the vast potential lying beneath its rugged terrain – its mineral resources.

The Commissioner of Mines, Mohato Maima reveals that Lesotho is rich in various mineral deposits, including diamonds, clay, sandstone, and gypsum.

There is untapped potential in these resources, and exploration efforts are currently underway to unlock their full extent.

This provides opportunities for diversification and sustainable development within the mining sector. Furthermore, the presence of kimberlite pipes suggests that there could be more diamond deposits to discover, which would further boost Lesotho’s mineral wealth.

Mohato also highlights the mining sector’s importance as a vital source of employment for many Basotho.

It offers opportunities for skill development and economic empowerment. As mining operations expand, job creation in both direct and indirect roles becomes increasingly prevalent, stimulating local economies and fostering social development.

Ramano Mashudo believes that mining plays a crucial role in community development. He emphasizes the importance of educating the youth on how to make the most of minerals mined.

A well-managed mining sector can contribute to fiscal stability, laying the foundation for long-term economic planning and sustainable development initiatives.

Mashudo also highlights Lesotho’s potential to become a sustainability champion in mining. However, this can only be achieved by teaching the youth that Lesotho’s economic resilience depends on diversifying its revenue streams beyond mining and adding value to its mineral exports.

One of the panelists, Jabu Xaba, Chairperson of the Mining Association of Southern Africa (MASA) affirms that through Mining Indaba Khotla, being the first of its kind in Lesotho, growth is inevitable. “We are repositioning Lesotho to the global landscape of mining. And this will happen when African countries work together to ensure that they maximize opportunities”, he says.

Adding that in order to enhance governance structures and regulatory frameworks, it is essential to foster investor confidence and ensure transparent and equitable resource management.

These can be achieved by strengthening institutional capacity, promoting stakeholder engagement, and combating corruption. These aspects are critical steps towards realizing Lesotho’s mining potential sustainably.