Creating sustainable value for our communities


One of our most significant infrastructural projects has been the provision of water to the PACs residing in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is a major need due to the arid climate. Ghaghoo provides water to Molapo, Metsiamanong, Mothomelo and Gope. The Gope community receives treated water directly from the mining site, and borehole water is used for animal consumption. While the borehole water for the Metsiamanong and Mothomelo communities was of high quality, the water in the borehole at Molapo was too salty for human consumption. The community has therefore been provided with an on-site water treatment plant. Ghaghoo has taken responsibility for maintaining the plant and ensuring that water is in constant supply.

Ghaghoo adopted the Kaudwane Primary School during 2014. As the sponsoring company, Gem Diamonds has performed ongoing maintenance and repairs to the school over the past three years, including repairs and maintenance to the school’s generator, bathrooms, kitchen and classrooms. Students from the Kaudwane Primary School also attend a mine tour annually at our Ghaghoo mine. The initiative aims to educate students in the mining industry, which is a part of their classroom curriculum, supplying a first-hand experience of a mining site and the mining process.

In Botswana, Agriculture is an important subject in the school curriculum. At the Lephephe Primary School, the subject is brought to life as learners integrate their classroom-based lessons with hands-on experience, learning how to prepare, plant, care for and harvest fruit and vegetables in the school’s vegetable garden.

The produce grown is either used in the school’s kitchen, where students are fed two meals a day, or sold to the local community. The funds are reinvested into the garden or spent on the school’s feeding programme. Through the money raised, the school has been able to expand the garden and make improvements, such as reinforcing the bottom of the garden to keep pests out.

“The children love how practical the agriculture classes are. In fact, I think they prefer it to their classroom work.”

Our Botha-Bothe vegetable production project was initiated in 2015 following a needs analysis and extensive engagement with the community. The objective was to improve the food security and nutrition of these vulnerable communities and to provide families with a sustainable source of income. The project has assisted smallholder farmers in the Botha-Bothe community by providing six greenhouses and assisting in the ploughing and planting of 32 hectares of land in the Botha-Bothe community. Farmers received comprehensive support, including training and assistance in identifying markets for their products and linkage with market requirements. In this way, farmers have been assisted in moving from subsistence farming to commercial farming.

The produce from the project is sold to the surrounding communities as well as to the Letšeng mine. The income generated by the project covers its running costs. In addition, the participating farmers receive support from the project with regard to the farming of their land, which they farm for their own income.

During 2016, the greenhouses and fields continued to yield quality produce. However, severe weather conditions resulted in significant damage to crops and adversely affected the profitability of the project. We will continue to support farmers in the year to come to assist them in recovering from the difficulties faced during the year.

Dairy farm
In the Mokhotlong district, in the highlands of Lesotho, much of the community is largely dependent on livestock as the major driving force for community livelihood.

Following an in-depth community needs analysis that was undertaken in Mokhotlong and Botha-Bothe, a dairy project was identified as the most sustainable means of contributing positively to the socio-economic development of these communities. The Liphamola Dairy Farmers Association (LDFA) in Mokhotlong was identified as the beneficiary of the project. The LDFA was established in 2011 and has over 210 members across Mokhotlong. A management committee has been established to oversee the project and consists of the representatives of the farmers, Letšeng Diamonds as the financier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and Lesotho National Dairy Board.

Once completed, the project will consist of two components, a farm where cows will be reared and the milk processing plant, both of which are currently under construction. Work on the infrastructure needed to support the project began in 2016.

In total, 30 Brown Swiss cows will be purchased and reared in Mokhotlong, 15 of which will be purchased in 2017 and the remaining 15 to be purchased in 2018. Brown Swiss cows were selected because they are adaptable to any climate conditions. The processing of milk will include pasteurisation to increase the shelf life of the milk and thereafter the milk will be packaged. Individual farmers will also have an opportunity to sell milk to the farm, which will result in benefit being distributed to the larger community in Mokhotlong. The farm will also employ eight full-time staff members from the community.

A biogas system will be installed as the waste management plan for the farm. All the waste that will include cow dung, human waste, milking parlour, etc will be treated to produce methane gas that will be used to heat water at the farm. The residue will be used as manure in the fields.

The rearing and management of calves will be part of the training involved in this project. Furthermore, artificial insemination will be performed as part of the project. In this way, calves, which will be highly adaptable to the local conditions, will be sold at reasonable prices to community members, rather than having to import them from South Africa.

“The contribution from Gem Diamonds has made all the difference. We could not have come this far, seeing the project being built from the ground up, without their support.”

Feeding is the highest operational cost of this project. A cropsharing arrangement has been made with local farmers whereby their land is utilised to plant crops to be used as feed. Farmers then receive a percentage of the crops as payment for the use of their land, supplying further benefit to the community.

We believe that this project will produce viable socio-economic growth, meeting community needs and uplifting people for many years to come.

Lephephe Primary School student
participating in the school
agricultural programme.
  Greenhouses at the
Botha-Bothe vegetable project.
  Tomato plants at the
Botha-Bothe vegetable project.
Construction at the dairy farm.   Farmers working the land as
part of the crop sharing
arrangement at Mokhotlong.
  Ariel Mosaase, a member
of the Liphamola Dairy
Farmers Association.