Villagers slam Kolo mine

Kolo mine entrance

By ‘Majirata Latela

The Kolo community is still frustrated at the idle state of the local diamond mine which has, among others, resulted in Reskol Diamond Mining (Pty) Ltd allegedly failing to fulfil its promises of carrying out development activities in the area.

The residents claim the mining company has not lived up to its word or met their expectations, and have proclaimed they do not want any mining operations in their village.

The irate community members accuse the mine of reneging on its promises to implement infrastructure developments in their area such as road construction and relocation of some houses damaged by the blasting activities.


The mine is situated at Kolo at Ha Petlane in the Mafeteng district.

Reskol Diamond Mining, a limited liability company, took over the mining rights in 2011 from Angel Diamond which faced liquidation.

The former entered into a joint venture with the government of Lesotho on the Kolo Mine, which is about 35km south-west of Maseru. The government owns 10 percent of the company, which had a 10-year lease from the mining ministry. The lease expired in 2021.

After the lease deadline, Reskol applied for renewal but that was turned down by the mining ministry on the basis that the company had breached some of its obligations as enshrined in the Mining and Minerals Act of 2005 and the issued mining lease.

In a letter dated June 11 2021, the minister of mining Serialong Qoo showed that Reskol has not complied with the prescribed production timelines and quantities, thus affecting efficiency of operations and contributing to wasteful mining practices.

The letter also indicates that the company has not complied with the requirements for renewal of a mining lease as the application was default due to not meeting the mining maintenance of continues operations in the year of renewal. The company is also said to have not complied with the provisions governing suspension of operations as the mine suspended operations without authorisation.

Upon non-renewal of the lease, Reskol mine launched an urgent court application in which the ministry of mines, the principal secretary, the secretary of mining board and the attorney general were cited as the respondents in the case. The judgement is still pending in the high court.

In the court papers filed, Reskol sought an interdiction and restriction on respondents from awarding any mining lease to anyone in respect of Kolo and Sekameng kimberlites. It also sought an order interdicting and restraining respondents from interfering with its mining operations in any manner whatsoever except by due process of the law, pending finalisation of the court case and the arbitration proceedings.

During a visit to the village, the Ha Petlane area chief, ‘Materai Petlane, where the mine is located said the community chose a liaison committee that tabled development demands to the mining ministry and the company when the operations began.

According to her, the demands included construction of tarred road and supply of electricity in and the relocation of some houses which were affected by the blasting. She said the houses had cracked while blasting was being carried out.

She lamented that the seven houses have neither being repaired nor relocated for a period spanning 10 years.

However, she was not aware that the mining company has instituted a court case in which a verdict has not yet been delivered.

“We do not want this company anymore. It makes promises which it never fulfils. The committee that presented our concerns to the company was very optimistic that our community was going to be developed as the company had promised. But until now we have not seen even a single development.

“We do not even have a road that leads to the village. During rainy days the vehicles cannot reach the village and that forces the villagers to walk home for about two km from the main road.

 “The mine has not been operating for many years now and we are not going to allow them to start operating before addressing our concerns. We plead with the ministry to also play its part. It should not allow the company to continue operating without giving us what we want,” chief Petlane said.

She added that even when the mine was still operating many of the youth which the community had hoped would be the first to be offered jobs there, were left out, resulting in their departure to indulge in illegal mining activities in the neighbouring South Africa abandoned mines.

Petlane said when the mine reopens, her wish is to see the youth of Ha Petlane getting jobs as the residents were the first to determine there were precious stones in the area well ahead of companies commencing prospecting the place.

In 2019, one local media report published that the Kolo community was increasingly restive over the delays in the commencement of full-scale diamond mining operations by Reskol Diamond Mining Company after completion of trial mining in October last year.

The article showed that the community was still awaiting the fulfilment of infrastructure development promises which were made in the presence of the former minister of mining Keketso Sello in October 2018. Reskol promised that it would ensure there was a reliable water supply, electricity and it would rehabilitee the roads in the area.

Kolo has an estimated 1.3 million tonnes of kimberlite which is believed to contain 110 000 carats of diamonds.