MPs want clarity on Moradi Crushers’ contract


. . . As Mines Commissioner fails to produce documentation


MASERU— The Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Land Cluster has increased pressure on the Commissioner of Mines for greater transparency on the contracts awarded to Moradi Crushers in the Ha Mpeke community. This stems from Commissioner Mohato Moima’s failure to provide satisfactory responses and necessary documentation to the committee.

The community of Ha Mpeke in Peka, Leribe has long sought government intervention, as Moradi Crushers has operated in the area for over 20 years without addressing the damage caused by its operations or presenting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to justify its continued activities. During a committee session, Moima was asked to detail these issues. He noted that the quarry initially promised to engage with the community by contributing M40,000 annually for local development.

However, the Commissioner did not produce the requested documents, prompting the committee to order their release to address the Ha Mpeke situation. Committee Member Thabiso Lekitla criticised the Ministry for dodging accountability, highlighting its failure to deliver the required documents despite understanding the committee’s requirements. He urged the Principal Secretary to ensure the Ministry performs its duties effectively, as their current approach complicates the committee’s work.

Moradi Crushers has been operating commercial plants in the rural towns of Morija and Peka for over 30 years, becoming a major supplier of crushed stone nationwide. Generally, mining operations in the region have overlooked the needs and agreements with surrounding communities.

Reflecting on these concerns, the Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources Cluster recently demanded that the Ministry of Natural Resources Commissioner and the Principal Secretary suspend operations of Reskol Diamond Mining until the Ministry provides the documents justifying its operation.

This followed a petition from the Kolo, Ha Petlane community in the Mafeteng district, protesting that the mine commenced operations without proper community engagement. Reskol Diamond Mining (Pty) Ltd. was granted a mining concession in 2011, which expired in 2021. When Reskol applied for renewal, this was turned down by the then Mining Minister Serialong Qoo for failing to meet obligations specified in the Mines and Minerals Act of 2005.

Despite this, the mine was re-licensed in October 2023 and began operations, raising community concerns over unmet promises for damage compensation. In an interview with Public Eye, ’Mamahlape Hlapane, Chairperson of the Committee connecting the community with the mine, voiced concern about confusion over the mine’s operations resuming without notifying the community. She highlighted unfulfilled commitments since 2011, including relocating the most affected households, improving water access, constructing roads, and installing electricity in the villages.

Hlapane also expressed concern over the legal operations of the mine: “Tenders were opened for mining proposals, yet the same mine that failed us was re-licensed. After being initially denied, Reskol even took the Ministry to court and was inexplicably granted another chance. We question the legality of these operations and have yet to receive the promised audit report from the Commissioner of Mines.”

She continued: “If the mine was legally closed, it should reopen legally. We have been told the mine is merely testing machinery, yet how does such testing take three months? “We suspect operations have already begun. It seems the Commissioner lacks the documents we have requested. We insist that Reskol’s operations be suspended until our issues are resolved.”

Moima confirmed that relocating households remains a pending issue, promising completion this year with seven households due to be moved. Chairperson Moeketsi Motšoane of the Natural Resources Cluster mandated the ministry should stop Reskol until necessary documentation is provided to the committee. He noted the ministry’s consistent non-compliance, especially in providing critical documents for the Kolo and Ha Mpeke communities, and justified the temporary suspension of Reskol’s operations. Reskol Diamond Mine was established after the liquidation of Angel Diamonds, its predecessor.

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