MASERU – The ministry of mining is planning to build the country’s first geological laboratory. The project, currently at the designing stage, is expected to save Lesotho millions of Maluti that Lesotho spends in South Africa for testing the country’s soil, stones and water.Speaking at the inspection of the site where the laboratory will be built yesterday, mines minister Serialong Qoo said the design of the laboratory will cost the government around M2 million.
He said the design process is at the final stage and the ministry is currently waiting for quotations for water and electrical connections. Qoo further noted that at the moment they cannot say how much the whole project will cost but a financial report about the project will be completed and presented before the relevant authorities by the end of this financial year and will ready to be presented before Parliament for the next financial year.
He said the laboratory will not only save the country money as part of ways to grow the country’s economy but it will also create job opportunities for Basotho. Lesotho mines are compelled to test soil, stones and water in South Africa because of lack of facilities in the country. He also pointed out that because of absence of a geological laboratory where Lesotho can test its resources before inviting investors into the country, the country gets less shares in investments as most investors have to conduct their own studies and tests before investing in the country.
“The laboratory will help us do our own tests on our resources. This will help us get higher shares in investments because investors will no longer have any need to conduct their own studies. “We will also no longer be prone to being cheated out of our resources as we will know about their value first hand,” Qoo said. Currently, Lesotho mines which normally conduct tests every six months spend around M2 million per year for tests that they conduct in South Africa.
Director at Geo Sciences Ngakane Ngakane told this publication that the ministry made a request for the Government to build the laboratory in 2016. Approval was granted the same year and since then they have been doing research on the design and drawings that are needed for a laboratory that meets the country’s needs. He said by the end of this financial year, the design will be completed and the ministry will move to the next stage of constructing the laboratory.