A little-known industry in Botswana, called cobalt mining, was one of the first to be created in the world in the early 2000s, and has since grown to become one of Botswanas top economic engines.
But it’s not as if the industry is thriving today, and is often accused of taking money from the people who work in it.
According to a new report from Botswana Mining Industry Association (BMIA), only six of the country’s more than 3,200 cobalt ore companies are in full-time operation.
The rest have shut down for various reasons, and are currently seeking new investors.
“There are a lot of mining companies that have gone out of business, and it’s mainly because of the mining taxes.
If you have to pay them, they’re going to go out of your business,” said Botswana-based miner and BMIA board member Simon Hluby, speaking about the industry.
“I think we need to have a serious discussion about the tax system in the country.”
The report points out that many of the cobalt companies are owned by mining magnate and mining magnates Lukas Muthoni and BMG International, who have both been implicated in numerous corruption scandals in Botsania.
Muthonis, who owns the Mining Mining Exploration and Production Company of Botsania (MEPC), has been indicted for allegedly bribing his former employees, and Muthones has been charged with fraud and corruption in the United States, according to the report.
“There’s a lot more than that going on,” said Hlubsch, who’s also an attorney at the Botswana Center for Constitutional Advocacy.
“If you look at the way the mining tax system is structured, there are companies that are operating for very low or very low rates that are basically just mining.
They’re doing this for very short periods of time, and they’re not paying the taxes that they should.”
Hlubi says there are other problems with the current tax system, including that companies can simply “take a tax break” to get around the taxes, and that there’s no clear process for reporting on whether the company is in compliance with the tax rules.
“These are the people that are the ones that we have to talk to about how to get these companies to comply,” he said.
“And there’s a lack of transparency in how those companies are doing that.”
In addition to the mining companies, the report points to the lack of clarity over what constitutes a mining company, and what constitutes “good” and “bad” mining.
While the government is supposed to regulate mining, it is very difficult to find out exactly what a company is actually doing.
“When you talk about a mining corporation, they are usually just a company that’s owned by a company,” Hluti said.
Botswana is also struggling with a shortage of minerals in its domestic supply.
“We have a lot [of] the minerals that are in the reserves.
And when we want to import these minerals, we have problems in importing them from foreign countries,” Hliuby said.
The country has been struggling with this problem for years, and mining is a major part of the problem.
“The problem is that there is a lack in the quality of the minerals.
There are a number of problems with that,” Hlsuby added.
“It’s a huge problem, and a lot is going on in the environment and there’s an economic impact.
You’ve got a lack [of supply] in the domestic sector.”
Muthone also owns the mine of the same name, which is one of several mines in the area.
Hlubby said that when Muthonedi was in charge, the company was “working for a lot less than it is now, because they weren’t doing as well as they are now.”
The mining industry is also very expensive.
Botsanans can spend upwards of $200,000 on a home, and the country has one of Africa’s highest prices for electricity.
And it is a difficult economy, Hluba said.
In fact, the Botswanan government has announced it will spend $100 million on a new energy-efficiency program to cut its carbon emissions.
“You’ve got the most expensive electricity in the whole world,” Hloubi said.